José Tomás leaves on the shoulders of the Monumental in the last bullfight in the Barcelona bullring, on September 25, 2011.
In July 2010, Parliament approved a Popular Legislative Initiative (ILP) that called for the prohibition of bullfighting in Catalonia. The ban went into effect on January 1 of the following year. Three months earlier, on September 25, 2011, today 10 years ago, José Tomás, Juan Mora and the Catalan Serafín Marín left through the front door of the Monumental de Barcelona, a door that has not been reopened to celebrate bullfights. Bulls. The law has changed Catalonia in this decade. But it has not ended with the bullfighting feeling of the fans: the Federation of Bullfighting Entities of Catalonia is still active, organizing trips, conferences, debates ... The different associations are also moving, some, such as the José Tomás, El Prat or the Peña de Olot, among others, very active.Even the Bullfighting School of Catalonia does not stop training future bullfighters.
Barcelona's bullfighting fans survive five years of drought
Catalonia prohibits bullfighting
Céret, the bullfighting fair in which 'Els Segadors' plays
Last afternoon at the Monumental
“Citizens won in democracy”, considers Leonardo Anselmi, one of the promoters of the Prou! Platform, which was carried out by the ILP.
"A piece of freedom was taken from us," says Marilén Barceló, daughter of bullfighter Luis Barceló and a fan and student of bullfighting.
"We returned to exile, to the old days when we went to France to see what we were not allowed to see here," said this Thursday by telephone from the very Maestranza of Seville Paco March, who was president of the Federation of Bullfighting Entities of Catalonia, in reference to the "forced" trips to bullfighting fairs, especially in the south of France, the ones that are closer to hand.
In 2016, the Constitutional Court annulled the law but scheduling a bullfight has been unfeasible. "The doors were opened, yes, but the one who had the key was Balañá [owner of the Monumental] and he decided that he was not going to force political power," denounces March, a bullfighting critic for
, who complains that already he only writes bullfighting obituaries. In Olot (the oldest square in Catalonia) the initiative was tried but did not succeed. Many experts say that the fans were off in Barcelona, a city that had three active bullrings (the Monumental, the Arenas and the Torín, in Barceloneta) and openly blame the businessman in the Plaza de Barcelona for selling himself to tourism and hanging not attractive posters.
"I was a member of the clandestine PSUC and now I do it in defense of bullfights!", Exclaims Paco March, former president of the Federation of Bullfighting Entities of Catalonia
What worries fans now are the new generations.
Barceló is skeptical: "Today's young people are far behind bulls, and that is difficult to transmit tradition," he says.
March, on the other hand, values the attitude of many young people: “Paradoxically, together with the resistance of the old fans, the young people are very active, as demonstrated by the Union de Taurinos y Aficionado de Catalunya (UTYAC) club, in which a not a damn youth that is doing a lot for the bulls ”.
The 2010 parliamentary debate became politicized. "It was
" Anselmi qualifies. “At no time did we propose any vision, neither nationalist nor on the other side. Many people were summoned, both bullfighting independence supporters and anti-bullfighting Spanish nationalists, ”he recalls. But the issue got out of hand: "It seemed that being bullfighting was being right-wing," March complains. "I was a member of the clandestine PSUC and now I do it in defense of the bullfights!" The journalist considers that currently the politicization of the interest is damaging to the fans: "We cannot allow it to be appropriated by some," he explains. "That parties like Vox make the flag of the bulls is not good." In fact, Anselmi recalls, “it is significant that the first negotiations that Vox raised in Andalusia were about hunting and bulls”.
Another myth that bullfighters want to destroy is that of nationalism: "Santi Vila [who was a councilor of the Generalitat of Culture and also of Territory] had the medal of the Federation of Bullfighting Entities from when he was mayor of Figueres," says March.
"Like him, many regulars of the bulls later hid."
And, to break this sambenito, he cites the bullfighting fairs of French Catalonia where in Ceret, for example, the
before each bullfight and
La Santa Espina
, among the applause of the whole square, before the last bull of every run.
"We won in democracy," says anti-bullfighting Leonardo Anselmi.
"They took a piece of freedom from us," says fan Marilén Barceló
Barceló, who is now councilor of Barcelona pel Canvi, is clear: "The debate became politicized," he says. "And I admit the good work of some anti-bullfighters who spoke with some knowledge of respect for the bull and its entire ecosystem." Anselmi, who also recognizes some arguments from the other party, is proud of that debate, which he considers democratic and enriching: “The anti-bullfighting discourse Bibles were written through appearances by professionals of ethics, veterinary medicine, law, of philosophy, of culture… And all this knowledge has been put at the service of other countries in the world in these years ”. March, on the other hand, sadly recalls the interventions of some anti-bullfighters: "There were times when it seemed like the museum of horrors."
But life continues the same in Catalonia.
Anti-bullfighting at heart still have pending subjects although they are progressing: “The debate is still open:
, hunting, circus with animals (something that in 2015 we managed to get eliminated in Barcelona) ... Bullfighters cling to TV now travel to enjoy his hobby.
And, sometimes, they bear certain “insults”: “A vegan company from Barcelona rented the Monumental to present its latest food news.
It has been, for the moment, Balañá's last betrayal ”, March sentence.
The 'correbous' continue to run in Catalonia
The fact that the prohibition of bullfighting in 2012 did not affect the 'correbous', traditional Catalan festivals with the bull as the protagonist, represents, for bullfighters, an incongruity and a sign of the politicization of the issue. "It does not make any sense, it is not very coherent ...", proclaims Marilén Barceló, a fan of bullfighting. Leonardo Anselmi, an animalist who defended the ILP, considers this festival "a real aberration" and assures that they continue to fight for its ban. “But in 2007, which is when we began to prepare the ILP against bullfights, the 'correbous' did not enter the social debate. There were those who did not even know that bullfights were made in Barcelona! Many people were against it, but our assembly voted to focus on bullfighting.We were not clear about the social support that we were going to have, we had never raised something so great. Seeing it from today is one thing, seeing it with the optics of 14 years ago is a completely different thing ”.