By Ashifa Kassam
Police in Pamplona are searching for a bull runner who they believe snapped a selfie as he ran just inches ahead of several charging bulls weighing more than a half a tonne each.
As the young man slowed to take a photo in one of the final stretches of the fifth bull run of the San Fermín festival on Friday, he was captured on camera by several Spanish media. He now faces a fine of up to €3,000 under regulations passed this year by the city of Pamplona. The regulations, designed to crack down on dangerous behaviour during the festival, prohibit the unauthorised use of any kind of recording device during the bull runs.
The festival, which traces its roots back to the 13th century, has come under pressure in recent years to fight back against daredevils as its global profile increases. Images of the thousands of runners dressed in red and white as they tear through the narrow streets of Pamplona pursued by stampeding bulls have now become commonplace in foreign media, and tens of thousands of Spanish and foreign tourists descend on the city to take part in the festival’s nine days of alcohol-fuelled partying and bull runs.
As pictures of the man circulated on social networks under the hashtag #eltontolmóvil, meaning the idiot with the mobile, many criticised his lack of respect for the other participants in the run. El Mundo’s José Luis Vadillo wrote that the photo was “one of the best examples of human stupidity I’ve ever seen”, pointing out that he had put other runners in tremendous danger.
Fifteen people have been killed in the festival since record-keeping began in the early 1900s. Dozens more are injured each year in the festival, most of them during the panicked chaos of the morning bull runs.
[“The Pamplona runner holds up his phone inches from the bulls” via AFP]