Thousands of thrill-seekers from around the world are gathered in
northern Spain for the annual nine-day festival featuring the San
Fermin running of the bulls.
Crowds gathered in the town hall
square in Pamplona Monday. Many of the revelers were dressed in the
traditional white shirts and red handkerchiefs as they awaited the
launch of the "chupinazo" skyrocket that officially opens the festival.
first bull run is set for Tuesday, when six bulls will be run from
their corral through the cobblestone streets of the old town. The
spectacle will be repeated every day until July 14 and will be replayed
on television across much of the world.
festival was popularized internationally more than 80 years ago by
American author and Nobel Laureate Ernest Hemingway, in his novel "The
Sun Also Rises."
Last year's festival also
featured protests by hundreds of animal rights activists who stripped
to their underwear and marched through the streets to protest what they
consider to be the cruel treatment of animals.
At least 14
people have been killed and hundreds more seriously injured over the
past century, trying to avoid the bulls rampaging through the narrow
streets of the town.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.