At least one person is dead and about 30 injured, most of them police officers, in an explosion Sunday near the Plaza de Toros in central Bogota, Colombia, as police prepared for an anti-bullfighting protest.
Reuters reported most of the victims were police officers but el Tiempo reported the 29 injured included 10 soldiers and 19 others, most of them foreigners in a nearby restaurant. Images showed an officer in a shredded uniform being helped by colleagues along a road littered with debris near La Santamaria bullring. Nearby apartment buildings were damaged.
Protesters have been gathering weekly to protest bullfighting, which resumed in Bogota last month for the first time in four years after the constitutional court lifted a ban that had been in effect since 2012. Sunday’s bullfight was to be the last of the season. Bogota Police Cmdr. Hoover Penilla said the event would go on as scheduled.
TeleSur said explosives-sniffing dogs were dispatched to the area, which has been cordoned off, to determine whether any other devices had been planted. Noticias said the type of explosive used in the 10:36 a.m. blast had yet to be determined.
Firefighters, along with health officials and the Red Cross, were at the scene. Streets in the area have been closed.
Sunday’s explosion followed a blast Saturday in a restaurant in Bogota. One person was injured in that incident.
Anti-bullfighting activists, who argue the spectacle is a brutal blood sport, have been clashing with police in recent weeks.
Bullfighting originated in Spain but is also practiced in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, parts of southern France and Portugal. The website stopbullfighting.com says bulls are abused for two days before they get into the ring with a matador, who is aided by men on horseback, armed with picas that are used to cut into the animal’s neck to weaken it before the matador moves in for the kill.