Dara Fitzgerald from Co Kildare

What was this Co Kildare man doing stripping naked and taking part in a 'river of blood'?

Dara Fitzgerald told about the protest against the Pamplona ‘Running of the Bulls’ event.

EACH YEAR IN Pamplona in the north of Spain the ‘Running of the Bulls’ event draws visitors from across the world.

This year, those arriving to the festivities a few days early might have encountered a spectacle a bit different to what they were expecting.

Over the weekend around 150 people stripped naked, covered themselves in red paint and lay down on runway that the bulls will come out of later in the week.

And why did they do all this?

It was all in protest against the event, and to draw attention to animal rights – with the bodies symbolically creating a ‘river of blood’.

Dara Fitzgerald, originally from Ireland, was taking part in the PETA organised protest, holding a sign that read, “Pamplona’s Streets Are Stained With Bull’s Blood”.

Speaking to, Dara explained that that he had travelled over specifically for the event.

There was about 150 of us in total and I think most people were Spanish. And then there was some international people, me being one of those. I think with the aim being that it is not just a Spanish event but that people from all round Europe and even globally take issue with what happens here every year.

On the response that the protest has received locally, Fitzgerald said that local people had mostly been receptive to it, and had not been vociferous in their defence of the tradition.

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PETA is a group known for its controversial direct action campaigns – and on the surface this one would seem to be no different.

However, Dara explained that they hadn’t run into any difficulties, and locals for the most part had been fairly sympathetic to their cause.

“I was interesting because I kind of expected it to be a bit more difficult. I expected there to be some sort of angry locals thinking ‘who are these people complaining about our traditions and our cultures’, but actually there is none of that.

“And if anything there was a mix of local people and tourists who are here either for the festival or besides the festival, who cheered in support and clapped and came up and asked for more information,” he said.

It seems to be almost the case that a lot of the locals don’t necessarily agree with it, but they are passive about it. They don’t necessarily want to rock the cart either.

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Dara explained that, while he is an animal rights activist and a vegan, he acknowledged the historical difficulties attached to the situation.

I do see the arguments, but interestingly, a lot of local people when asked will say they don’t really believe in the violence of it. I think sometimes tradition can be used as a sort of a justification when it is a bit old fashioned and times need to change.

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