Sanfermines 2013 closes with safety and sexism at top of the agenda

Australian woman in a serious condition after being gored during final run

Runners do their best to avoid the bulls during the last day of Sanfermines on Sunday.
Runners do their best to avoid the bulls during the last day of Sanfermines on Sunday.VILLAR LÓPEZ (EFE)

The final run of the Sanfermines festival in Pamplona was tinged with tragedy as a 23-year-old Australian women was gored in the chest on Sunday. Identified only as J. E., she was said to be in a serious condition following the last encierro of the 2013 event, having suffered fractured ribs and damage to her right lung.

Safety concerns were raised after Saturday's run, during which a door to the main bullring, the eventual destination of the runners and the bulls after a half-mile course, was accidentally left shut, leading to a crush at the entrance. A 19-year-old was placed on artificial breathing apparatus and a further 22 people were injured in the incident.

On Friday, a 20-year-old US university student, Patrick Eccles, had his spleen removed after being gored in the stomach, while two Spaniards were also seriously injured after being caught by the horns of the charging bulls.

Since records began in 1924, 15 people have been killed during the Sanfermines encierros, immortalized by Ernest Hemingway in the The Sun Also Rises.

But as well as safety issues and animal rights concerns, the Sanfermines is under the spotlight over the practice of groups of men manhandling topless women during the celebrations, which has enraged anti-gender violence groups and led to a backlash. "Accepting these images as a merry bacchanal legitimizes male domination and sexual assault," wrote Emilia Laura Arias, a journalist specializing in gender equality.

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