Of all the European nations struck by the international financial crisis Spain is at the forefront of those suffering the most. Unemployment is soaring towards 20% and more and all levels of government are having trouble paying their bills. None more so, it appears, than the town of PInto where youths have pelted their town hall with eggs and tomatoes in protest against budget cuts that have forced summer fiesta organisers to limit, or even scrap, the number of bullfights. “The news has been very badly received in the town and we feel we have been tricked by the local government,” said José Antonio Pérez, president of a club for bullfighting aficionados in Pinto. “This is the first time in living memory that we have not had a fight.”
Pinto normally holds bullfights between August 13 and 15 and the fiesta is in honour of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.
The Financial Times of London reports that town hall, however, justified the measure on financial grounds. Juan José Martín, the socialist mayor, declared to El País newspaper that it had been a “difficult and painful decision”. The budget for the fiestas has been slashed from €500,000 ($711,200, £430,400) to €142,000 and the town owes 800 of its municipal staff back pay.