• France's news in English

French village locks down ahead of bullfight

Ben McPartland · 25 Oct 2013, 17:49

Published: 25 Oct 2013 17:49 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In October 2011 a demonstration against a bullfight in Rodilhan in the Gard region of southern France turned ugly when protestors were kicked and punched and forcibly removed from the bull ring. (see video below)

This weekend marks the annual two-day bullfighting festival in Rodilhan and protestors are once again set to demonstrate their opposition to a tradition that is still legal in parts of southern France.

Fearing a repeat of the ugly scenes of 2011, authorities in the village will set up a 400 metre cordon around the arena, which protestors will be forbidden from passing.

“It’s like they are preparing for a war,” one local villager told Midi-Libre newspaper.

Scores of riot police have been drafted in to keep the peace, amid fears certain protesters will be looking to avenge the beatings they were given two years ago, which are still the subject of legal proceedings.

This year the ranks of protestors, most of whom are from France’s anti-bullfighting organisation CRAC (The Radical Committee Against Corrida), will be swelled by a contingent from various US-based animal rights groups.

Los Angeles-based Carole Davis from Friends of Animals told The Local they were “terrified” of being attacked, but had to stand up against a “despicable tradition”.

“We have been told to expect the use of water cannon by police and we have been to the chemist to buy solution in case people use CS gas against us,” Davis said.

“We are coming in peace to try and stop them from killing these bulls. It’s outrageous that they are allowed to take place because of a small minority.

“This does not fit in with the image of France that we love. Nowhere on the French Tourism website is there any mention of the cruel blood sport of bullfighting.

 It’s a tradition that needs to be abolished, like slavery was.”    

Davis says 40 California school children have also sent letters to the mayor of Rodilhan and the French ambassador in Washington, D.C., asking them to “stop the killing.”    

SEE ALSO: 'Bullfighting is a French tradition, leave us in peace'

A Facebook page under the title "Tous a Rodilhan" (Everyone to Rodilhan) has been set up to coordinate the protesters, over 1,000 of whom are expected to turn up.

Story continues below…

The General Secretary of Rodilhan Town Hall told The Local on Friday the protesters must respect the cordon, or they will face arrest.

“We will do everything that can possibly be done to keep the peace, but after that it will depend on the protesters themselves and their leaders. People are coming to watch 'la Corrida', which is legal here, and that needs to be respected.

“The police will take all necessary action to protect the protesters and the spectators.

“We are in a region where the Corrida is a tradition that has existed for many years. It’s not just in Rodilhan but all over the region.”  

Don't miss a story about France - Join us on Facebook and Twitter.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Photo: AFP

Some in France have shown solidarity with their new guests, while others have made it clear they are not welcome.

Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
The fantastic new Bordeaux wine museum. Photo: AFP

After The Local France, the Lonely Planet has followed suit by urging everyone to head to Bordeaux in 2017.

Jungle shacks set ablaze and torn down as camp razed
All photos: AFP

IN PICTURES: The razing of the Jungle has finally begun.

Frenchwoman finds WW1 grenade among her spuds
Photo: AFP

It could have been a very explosive family dinner.

Refugee crisis
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Photo: AFP

What does the future hold for the migrants of the Jungle? Can they work or claim social benefits or travel freely inside Europe?

Pampers nappies 'contain carcinogenics': French study
Photo: Robert Valencia/Flick

The substances in the nappies are meant to prevent skin irritation but are cancerous, the study concludes.

France to scrap special prison wings for dangerous jihadists
Photo: AFP

The experiment has been ditched.

Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
A model at the Pulp Fiction fashion show in Paris that represents society's diverse spectrum . Photo: AFP

Hold on, aren't the French all meant to be finely toned specimens with not an ounce of fat on them?

France poised to send bulldozers into Calais Jungle
Photo: AFP

As hundreds of migrants leave, the bulldozers are set to tear down the sprawling Calais shanty town on Tuesday.

UK to spend €40 million on securing Calais border
Photo: AFP

Britain spending big on security in Calais.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available