Bomb Blast in Bogotá Near Site of Protest Against Bullfighting Reportedly Kills One and Injures Dozens
A large explosion in a Bogotá neighborhood where Sunday protests against bullfighting have been taking place for weeks reportedly killed one police officer and wounded dozens more people in the area. According to the Miami Herald, the blast occurred at 10:30 a.m. and was caused by a homemade bomb that had been hidden beneath a sidewalk grate near the La Santa Maria bullring.
Riot police had been present in the Macerena neighborhood in preparation for the planned protests that have been an ongoing scene each of the last four Sundays during the weekly bullfighting events that returned to the capital in January after a four-year ban on the practice was struck down by Colombia’s Constitutional Court last year.
Photo: A bomb blast in Bogotá killed one and injured dozens nearby the Plaza de Toros La Santa Maria, which has seen thousands of protestors rally against the return of bullfighting outside its gates each of the past four Sundays. (Credit: Carlos Andrés Prada Durán)
The UPI listed the number injured at more than 30 in addition to the officer who was killed and reported that 12 arrests were made, although it remains unclear who was responsible for the crime.
In the aftermath, Bogotá Mayor Enrique Peñalosa brought together a security council to coordinate the law enforcement response and later visited some of the wounded who had been hospitalized. “Terrorists are not going to intimidate us,” said Peñalosa, via Twitter. “And we will do everything necessary to capture them.”
Speaking from the scene, and later through official mayoral channels on Sunday, Peñalosa did not reveal whether officials believe the explosion was set off by an anti-bullfighting protestor or an unrelated group.
The protests began on January 22 on the day of the first bullfight in Bogotá in at least four years. Riot police clashed with demonstrators who threw red paint at spectators entering the bullring, spraying tear gas to quell the unruly crowd and arresting more than a dozen. Various non-serious injuries were reported.
Former Bogotá Mayor Gustavo Petro banned bullfighting in the capital in 2012, although the practice has continued in other Colombian cities, including Medellín, Cali, and Manizales. The prohibition was overturned by the court on the grounds that bullfighting is a part of Colombia’s cultural heritage. Sunday’s event was the final scheduled this season in Bogotá.