Europe

Bullfighting returns to Majorca after partial ban overturned

Spanish matador Francisco Rivera Ordonez "Paquirri" waves after the bullfight at the Coliseo Balear in Palma de Mallorca on August 3, 2017 Image copyright AFP
Image caption The last bullfight to be staged in Majorca's Coliseo Balear was in 2017

Bullfighting is returning to Majorca after a partial ban on the practice was overturned by Spain's top court.

Part of a law adopted by the regional parliament had banned the killing of bulls during fights.

But Spain's constitutional court ruled against that ban, arguing that it was an essential part of the sport.

This is the first fight to be held in Majorca in two years. Animal rights activists say the move is "horrific" and plan to protest the event.

"We're convinced that the end of bullfighting is already here and this is the last gasps of a dying spectacle", Francisco Vasquez Neria of the Anima Naturalis group told the BBC.

Majorca's Coliseo Balear, where the fight will take place on Friday, is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, Spanish newspaper ABC reports. Four well-known matadors will attend the fight, which will begin at 21:30 local time (22:30 GMT).

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Media captionTwenty-five-year-old Conchi Rios is one of only four female matadors fighting bulls in Spain.

The country's constitution protects bullfighting as a part of Spain's "national heritage."

Bullfighting in some form or other has existed in Spain since at least Roman times, and the most typical current format involving a bullfighter with a cape and sword took its definitive shape in the 18th Century. Fighters can be awarded the bull's ears, tail or hooves as a trophy.

Hundreds of bullfights are still held every year in Spain, but the numbers are falling. As well as the Canary Islands, Catalonia has also taken steps to ban the tradition.

Opponents describe the blood-soaked pageants as barbaric, while fans say the tradition is deeply rooted in national history.

Outside Spain, it remains popular in southern France, Portugal and some South American countries.

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