Sell-out bullfight held in Viana do Castelo against council’s will

By Carrie-Marie Bratley, in News · 23-08-2012 12:30:00 · 5 Comments
Sell-out bullfight held in Viana do Castelo against council’s will

A sold-out bullfight that took place on Sunday in Viana do Castelo despite the council having taken court action to try and stop it has been hailed a “victory for freedom” by bullfight supporters.

Dionísio Mendes, who represents the 40 municipalities of the National Portuguese Municipalities Association (ANMP) that back bullfighting said that “freedom won” in Viana do Castelo, given that the fight took place and with a “completely full ring.”
Speaking to Lusa News Agency after the fight Dionísio Mendes, president of the section of ANMP municipalities that uphold bullfighting and who is also the Mayor of Coruche (Santarém), said: “I think what won, overall, was the freedom for us to do what we enjoy, without imposing anything on others and accepting a spectacle that has to do with culture, tradition and that has to do with popular tastes.”
The bullfight-active municipalities section, a department that is associated to the ANMO, was created in September 2001 and comprises 40 municipalities north to south of Portugal.
In Mr. Mendes’ opinion the event was “an example of success, as in Viana do Castelo there were more than 2,300 paying spectators and around 300 free protestors.”
He said the packed bullring was proof that bullfights are a part of Portuguese culture and, he says, there is no reason as to why next year bullfights shouldn’t return to Viana do Castelo as they are “paid” spectacles in which “only those who want to take part”.
“Proved evidence that there are spectators and a will for bullfights to take place all over the country is the resounding success that was the packed bullring in Areosa, Viana do Castelo”, Mr. Mendes argued, adding that it took place in an “artificially hostile” environment created with intent.

Hundreds of anti-bullfighting and animal rights protestors gathered in the city’s Marina gardens to carry out two demonstrations against the fight, which was scheduled to start at 5pm.
The Mayor further lamented the “excessive and exaggerated promotion” by some elements of the social media with regards to anti-bullfighting positions, “who don’t give a voice to those who do like” bullfights.
Last weekend’s event in Viana do Castelo took place after Braga’s administrative and fiscal court gave its organisers five days to respond to arguments from the council who opposed it and placed an appeal against it.
In practice the decision allowed the bullfight to take place even though the council said the installation of the mobile arena was being done on land considered to be of “high landscape value” and is a “grave violation” of the Municipal Land Plan (PDM), of the National Ecological Reserve and of the Coastal Zone Plan.
Viana do Castelo council has maintained an ‘anti-bullfighting’ stance since a declaration was approved on 27 February 2009 in which it said it would deny authorisation for any spectacles of the sort to take place on public or private land.
Defensor Moura, who was Mayor at the time the motion was approved, deemed Sunday “a sad day.”
Speaking to Radio Renascença, he said: “We made the decision three years ago and we are conscious that, at this moment, the council and the majority of the vianense population do not want bullfights.”
He criticised the court’s decision which ultimately made it possible for the fight to take place, stressing: “for three years no one noticed that bullfights were missing because Viana do Castelo doesn’t have bulls, or bullfighters, or forcados, and they were only made possible because the court made a scandalous decision.”
A posting made Monday morning on the Facebook page of the Portuguese Federation for Bullfighting Associations, PróToiro, read: “Good morning aficionados! Today we wake up to a freer Portugal. The cultural censorship that existed in Viana which was maintained by Mayor José Costa and by ex-Mayor Defensor Moura has disappeared; they were defeated in their stance. A victory dedicated to all of you!”


Hear Hear! Let the Portuguese bullfighting scum have their bullfights! Joyful government entertainment to help them hide the fact their economy is in the toilet. That might just make people upset indeed.

by Davido from Other on 28-08-2012 07:23:00

Fishing is allowed everywhere in the world and the fish suffers a lot while being fished. Yet no one complains about the suffering to the fish. So why so much moaning about bull-fighting?

by Forcado from Alentejo on 26-08-2012 06:13:00

The council should focus on more pressing issues such as rubbish collection, attracting investment, taking care of the roads and parks and other things to improve quality of life. They are elected and paid by the tax-payer to do this, not to engage in anti-Portuguese culture behaviour on behalf of national and foreign-inspired groups with suspicious anti-Portugal agendas.

by Rui Bastos from Algarve on 26-08-2012 06:06:00

Good victory against the leftist, hippie and tree-hugging lobby who are well-known for their hypocrisy and lack of tolerance. It's equally good a Portuguese tradition was successfully defended in this day and age of internationalism and globalization. No doubt lots of foreigners in Portugal will be criticising our traditions. I bet they would not like it if Portuguese expats in the UK criticised the chav/yob culture, the drunks who invade town centres on Friday nights, the rise of Islam and Sharia, being forced eat halal meat in Christian schools, the trouble while deporting the Abu Qatada and Abu Hamza, etc.....

by Erica from Porto on 26-08-2012 05:59:00

"only those who want to, take part" Snr Mendes obviously didn't ask the bull! I believe it was Gandhi who said you can tell a lot about a country by the way it treats it's animals. There is a lot of great 'culture' in Portugal that doesn't involve the suffering of animals.

by Jane Blum from Algarve on 26-08-2012 10:37:00
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