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A child watches the painted protesters.Reuters
Animal rights campaigners have continually fought against the tradition of the Pamplona bull run and bullfighting for the cruel treatment of the animals.Reuters
Some of the protesters were painted red and others black. Two days before the event there is a "running of the nudes" event that takes place, organised by PETA.Reuters
Animal rights protesters arranged themselves into two groups before spelling out their message. Despite the protests the Pamplona bull run remains a huge tourist attraction, with people coming from all over the world to test their courage against the bulls.Reuters
The demonstrators lay in position spelling the anti bullfighting message on the day before the week-long festival.Reuters
The message
The protesters form the words "Stop Bullfighting" in the silent demonstration. The bullfighting ban in Catalonia, which was put into place in September 2011, appears to show the tide turning against blood sports.Reuters
Red crowds
Revellers hold up their red scarves during the start of the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona.Reuters

Animal rights protesters paraded naked in the run-up to the annual running of the bulls in the Spanish town of Pamplona.

Painted head to toe in black and red, the protesters stepped out on to the streets of Pamplona at the start of the seven-day San Fermin festival, lay on the ground in a town square and arranged their bodies to spell the words "stop bullfighting".

The event, which attracts hundreds of brave or stupid people to run ahead of the bulls as they charge through the town's narrow streets, has its roots in the 14th century.

It has boomed into an international tourist event, with people coming from all over the world to test their courage by running as close as they can to the rampaging livestock.

The event has been condemned by animal rights campaigners and groups such as Peta for the treatment of the animals, which are enraged and scared by the crowds jeering them on. The bull run serves to transport the bulls to the ring, where they will be killed in a bullfight.

A Peta spokesman said: "Torturing and killing a defenceless animal should not be celebrated as a tradition. People have always tried to use tradition to justify horrible things, such as child labour and slavery. But tradition doesn't make something right."

In 2002, Peta launched the annual Running of the Nudes through the town's streets. Campaigners take part in the naked protest, running in just horns and a red scarf. The event has gained popularity over the years, with as many as 1,000 taking part in the last run.

The bull run also has a human cost, with an average of 250 people injured ever year. Fifteen people have been killed, the most recent being 27-year-old Daniel Jimeno Romero in 2009.

Bull runs are held throughout Spain and Portugal, although the recent banning of bullfighting in some parts of Spain appears to show the tide turning against traditional bloodsports.