Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bogotá's Last Bullfight?

Across the street from the bullring a group of activists held a candle-light ceremony protesting bullfighting.
Fans exit the
Arabic-styled plaza de
 toros La Santamaria.
Today was the last day of the 2012 bullfighting season in Bogotá's Plaza de Toros Santamaria. Earlier this year, Bogotá's new Mayor Gustavo Petro said that the city should consider banning bullfighting and other public spectacles which include killing. That could make this the last day ever of professional bullfighting in Colombia's capital, altho the fiesta brava will continue, for the time being, in Cali, Medellin,  Manizales and other cities.

Anti-bullfighting posters. 
The stadium appeared to be filled today. That was the fights were headlined by El Juli, one of the superstars of the sport. Only a minority of Colombians like bullfighting, but they tend to be wealthy and influential.

Bullfighting's opponents argue that the 'sport,' besides being cruel, also promotes violence. That's particularly troubling in a nation with an internal armed conflict which has dragged on for more than a half-century.

Bullfighting fans leaving the plaza. Bullfighting is an upper-crust sport, popular among some wealthier Colombians and the traditional land-owning class.

The front of Santamaria Plaza, whose architecture is quite Moslem. 

Last call! A man sells hats and other bullfighting paraphenalia. 
Bullfighting plates for sale. 

Mounted police stand between anti-bullfighting protesters and the stadium. 
Police with anti-riot shields stand on Seventh Ave. between protesters and the stadium. They told me that the day had been peaceful - on the street. 

Across the street, anti-bullfighting activists burn candles. 
Across the street, along La Ciclovia, protesters call for a ban on bullfighting. 

A pair of musicians who'll play during post-fight dinner. 

A view thru the plaza's windows. The plaza was designed with a Muslim architecture, a tradition which Colombia inherited from Spain. 

'El Rincon Taurino.' 'The Bullfighting Corner'; a restaurant near the bullfighting stadium. If bullfighting is banned, the restaurant may have to find a new name. 

Any future for them? A poster advertises a school for young bullfighters. 

Bullfighting fans flow out of the Plaza Santamaria, whose architecture is very Islamic.  

Outside the stadium, a woman sells candies. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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