TORDESILLAS, Spain: About 500 animal rights activists protested in central Spain on Sunday against a centuries-old festival in which a bull is chased and then lanced to death.
For the demonstration the protesters arrived in the fortified town of Tordesillas, which will stage the festival on Tuesday, from across Spain on 10 buses rented by animal rights group PACMA which organised the event.
Wearing white T-shirts with the slogan "Break a Spear", they gathered in the plain near the town where a bull is killed each year and held up wooden sticks representing spears above their heads before snapping them in two.
Each year hundreds of people, many on horseback, chase a bull through the streets of Tordesillas and across a bridge to the plain where they then spear it to death.
The ritual has been held every second Tuesday in September since at least 1453.
"It is the cruelest tradition incurred upon an animal in our country," PACMA group said in a statement posted on its website ahead of Sunday's protest.
Each region of Spain has responsibility for its own animal protection laws, usually with exceptions for bullfighting. The festival in Tordesillas is allowed under the laws of the Castilla y Leon region.
PACMA describes itself as the Animalist Party on its website and says it is the only political party that campaigns for the rights of all animals.
While it has run candidates in elections to both chambers of parliament, it has yet to have any deputies or senators elected.