Five men have been arrested at Pamplona’s bull-running festival in connection with a reported sexual assault on a teenage woman, just days after the Spanish city launched a campaign to combat sexual violence at the event.
A 19-year-old woman told the police that she had been sexually assaulted in the city in the early hours of Thursday morning. The 19-year-old woman said she had been forced into a doorway on one of Pamplona’s central streets and abused by five men at about 3.40am.
The young woman, whose nationality has not been released, was taken to Pamplona’s main hospital for treatment after the attack.
A police officer on duty during Thursday morning’s bull run spotted a group of four men who fitted the woman’s description among the festival crowd in Pamplona’s bull ring. A fifth man was arrested while resting in a car outside the city center.
After a series of incidents of sexual attacks and intimidation at the festival, including a case last year in which a young British woman was abused in a bar toilet, Pamplona’s council launched a plan late last month to combat such assaults at this year’s event.
But Wednesday’s alcohol-fueled ‘chupinazo’ street party to signal the start of festivities was again the scene of images Pamplona’s authorities wish to avoid, with photographs published of some women baring their breasts and men groping them.
The city council put out a statement condemning Thursday morning’s reported sexual assault and called on citizens to join a silent protest against sexual violence set for 9pm that same evening. “We wish to express our utmost rejection of any kind of attack, violence or sexist attitudes which occur in the city and offer our support to the woman who was assaulted”.
The high level of alcohol and drug consumption at the festival “does not justify sexist behavior nor the existence of situations which are unsafe for women and result in their loss of liberty”, the statement added.