Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 15 November 2019

The controversial San Fermin running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain – in pictures

Five people have been hospitalised on the opening morning of the controversial nine-day festival

The festival of San Fermin has kicked off in the Spanish city of Pamplona. The nine-day celebration began on July 6, and will continue until July 14.

The festival is known for the running of the bulls, the encierro, which takes place every day at 8am when six bulls are run through the city's narrow streets, before being in afternoon bullfights, during which they will likely die.

Traditionally, revellers wear white clothes and red scarves to the festival, which honours the saint, San Fermin. The festival attracts around one million visitors annually.

Click though the gallery above to see images from day one of the 2019 San Fermin festival.

Much of the attention is down Ernest Hemmingway's The Sun Also Rises. The 1926 novel tells the story of British and American friends who travel to Pamplona to attend the festival.

The attention is not all positive, however, and in recent years Peta activists have protested the festival, calling for an end to the "bloody bullfights". The charity has an ongoing petition calling for the running of the bulls to end, stating: "The recklessness and cruelty inherent in bullfighting and bull runs can encourage a dangerous and lawless atmosphere in which the safety and lives of humans and animals are put at risk for the sake of depraved entertainment."

On day one of the 2019 festival, five people were hospitalised following the opening bull run. The five include two Americans and a Spaniard who were gored by bulls, officials in the northern Spanish city confirmed to AP.

A 46-year old man from San Francisco, California, was gored in the neck in the city's bullring, at the end of the 850-meter (930-yard) course. He was undergoing surgery, the regional government reported. A 23-year old man from Florence, Kentucky and a 40-year-old Spanish man were both gored in their thighs.

Updated: July 7, 2019 08:09 PM