By Emil Danielyan
The international outcry over plans to hold Spanish bullfights in Yerevan next week intensified on Friday as Europe’s leading anti-corrida groups urged President Robert Kocharian to ban the “barbaric” show.
“This is a show of torture and brutality only comparable to the Roman circus,”
the European Platform Against Bullfights, an umbrella structure uniting 27 organizations campaigning for the eradication of the fights, said in a written appeal to Kocharian. The anti-corrida coalition includes 14 non-governmental organizations from Spain.
The bullfights, scheduled for September 7 to 9 at the city’s Vazgen Sarkisian Stadium, have also been criticized by the Armenian Apostolic Church as a “bloody spectacle” contradicting the main tenets of Christianity.
But the city authorities said on Thursday the bullfights will go ahead despite the domestic and international criticism. According to their organizer, a Spanish-Armenian joint venture, none of the animals will be killed during the performance.
However, one of the four matadors due to arrive in Yerevan, Santiago Vidal, was quoted as telling a Spanish newspaper on Wednesday that the fate of the bulls will depend on the Armenian audience. The animals will be killed in the bullring if the spectators decide so, he said.
The remarks were described as “devastating” by two German anti-corrida groups that launched a worldwide alert against the fights on the Internet earlier this week.