BOGOTA – A total of 34 people were injured, five of them police officers, in protests by anti-bullfighting groups against the reopening of Bogota’s La Santamaria Bullring, officials said Monday.
At the same time, two protesters were arrested for attacking people trying to get into the bullring, the commander of the Bogota central district, Col. Jose Daniel Gualdron, told reporters.
The injured included an attorney along with two Bogota City Hall officials who were escorting bullfight fans trying to get into the bullring but who were being stopped by the animal-rights crowd, the police commander said,
Col. Gualdron said police are also working to identify other protesters thought to have infiltrated a demonstration convened under a pacifist banner.
He also said the police unit was made up of more than 1,200 agents and three security rings to guarantee the safety of the 10,300 people attending the bullfights.
Looking forward to the next bullfight program on Jan. 29, Col. Gualdron said that adequate measures will be taken to make sure they go off in an orderly manner.
La Santamaria Bullring was closed in June 2012 by order of Bogota’s then-Mayor Gustavo Petro, who said the setting should be used for “activities of life, not death.”
However, in September 2014 the Constitutional Court ordered the return of bullfights to La Santamaria Bullring by ruling in favor of the Bogota Bullfighting Corporation in its appeal against Petro’s decision on grounds of unconstitutionality.
The Constitutional Court ruled that “no legal regulation imposes a general prohibition on bullfighting spectacles” and recalled that they are “a cultural tradition of the nation, capable of being recognized as such by the state.”