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The Running of the Bulls 2012

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Every year, the Festival of San Fermin attracts thousands of visitors to Pamplona, Spain. Lasting nine days, the festival kicks off with massive crowds at the Chupinazo in Pamplona town square, followed by a carnival, fireworks, many bullfights, and of course, the encierro, or "running of the bulls." Held since 1591, San Fermin remains a popular, if also dangerous and controversial, event: Several people have been injured already this year, and the festival continues until July 14. Collected here are some scenes from the first days of this year's Festival of San Fermin. [39 photos]

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A cow jumps over revelers in a bullring during the second running of the bulls at the San Fermin Fiesta, in Pamplona, Spain, on July 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Ivan Aguinaga)
A cow jumps over revelers in a bullring during the second running of the bulls at the San Fermin Fiesta, in Pamplona, Spain, on July 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Ivan Aguinaga)
Revelers hold up traditional red scarves during the "Chupinazo", the official opening of the 2012 San Fermin fiestas, on July 6, 2012 in Pamplona, Spain. Revelers from around the world kick off the San Fermin festival with a messy party in the Pamplona town square, one day before the first of eight days of the running of the bulls. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) #
Revellers hold up red scarves during the start of the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona July 6, 2012. (Reuters/Vincent West) #
Celebrations in Ayuntamiento square, in Pamplona, Spain on July 6, 2012 to kick off the Spain's most famous bull-running festival with the annual launch of the "chupinazo" rocket. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos) #
Participants celebrate during the "Chupinazo" to mark the start at noon sharp of the San Fermin Festival on July 6, 2012 in front of the Town Hall of Pamplona. (Pedro Armestre/AFP/Getty Images) #
A reveler is sprayed with water after the "Chupinazo", on July 6, 2012 in Pamplona. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) #
Festival-goers are doused with water after the "Chupinazo" in Pamplona, on July 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) #
Partying during the "Chupinazo" in Pamplona town square, on July 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) #
A San Fermin festival reveler jumps from a fountain in Pamplona, on July 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) #
Men and women are packed together in the messy "Chupinazo" party in the Pamplona town square, on July 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) #
A Toro del Fuego, flaming bull, runs through the streets of Pamplona on the second day of the San Fermin running of the bulls in Pamplona, on July 8, 2012. (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images) #
A couple kisses before the second run of the bull of the San Fermin Festival, on July 8, 2012, in Pamplona. (Pedro Armestre/AFP/Getty Images) #
A placard depicting Muhammad Ali, left by street artists next to sleeping men in Cidadela Park during the second day of the San Fermin running of the bulls on July 8, 2012. (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images) #
A girl reacts as she is hit by the hat of a "Kiliki" during San Fermin festival's "Comparsa de gigantes y cabezudos" (Parade of the giants and the big heads) in Pamplona, on July 8, 2012. "Kilikis", wearing outsized masks, playfully hit bystanders with sponges on sticks, and parade daily through the city accompanied by brass bands during the nine-day-long festival. (Reuters/Susana Vera) #
Revelers run through Estafeta street on the third day of the San Fermin running-of-the-bulls on July 9, 2012 in Pamplona, Spain. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images) #
Runners make space for a Miura fighting bull before entering the Estafeta corner on the second day of the San Fermin running-of-the-bulls on July 8, 2012 in Pamplona. (Jasper Juinen/Getty Images) #
A runner, identified by a Navarran government spokesperson as a 21-year-old Japanese man from Ikeda, is lifted by his scarf onto the horns of a Dolores Aguirre fighting bull on the the first day of the running of the bulls in Pamplona, on July 7 2012. The man was dragged for approximately 50 meters (164 feet) and suffered light back injuries. (Reuters/Vincent West) #
A runner is dragged by his scarf by a Dolores Aguirre fighting bull at the entrance to the bullring during the first running of the bulls of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, on July 7, 2012. (Reuters/Vincent West) #
Doctors and paramedics give assistance to an injured man after a Dolores Aguirre Yabarra ranch fighting bull tossed him during the running of the bulls of the San Fermin festival, in Pamplona, on July 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) #
Runners fall in the path of a Cebada Gago fighting bull and steers at the entrance to the bullring during the third running of the bulls of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, on July 9, 2012. (Reuters/Susana Vera) #
Steers enter the bullring during the second running of the bulls in Pamplona, on July 8, 2012. (Reuters/Susana Vera) #
A recortador leaps over a bull during a contest at Pamplona's bullring on the third day of the San Fermin festival, on July 8, 2012. (Reuters/Joseba Etxaburu) #
A man sleeps during the second day of the San Fermin Festival, on July 8, 2012, in Pamplona. (Ander Gillenea/AFP/Getty Images) #
People walk amid piles of rubbish at the end of the first running of the bulls, in Pamplona, on July 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos) #
A reveler rests on a chair in the old city, at San Fermin fiestas, in Pamplona, on July 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos) #
The hands of a festival-goer hold her wineskin and railings as she waits for the start of the running of the bulls on the Estafeta corner, at the San Fermin fiestas, in Pamplona, on July 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos) #
A Cebada Gago ranch fighting bull falls on Estafeta corner during the third Running Of The Bulls, on July 9, 2012. Three people, two from Britain and one from the U.S. were gored by Fugado (Runaway), a 545 kg (1,199 lb) bull that broke from the pack after falling in Santo Domingo in a run that lasted three minutes and thirty-eight seconds. (Reuters/Joseba Etxaburu) #
Runners enter the bullring during the third running of the bulls of the San Fermin festival, on July 9, 2012. (Reuters/Susana Vera) #
A steer attempts to break through the crowd of runners blocking the entrance to the bullring during the second running of the bulls in Pamplona, on July 8, 2012. (Reuters/Susana Vera) #
A reveler tries to escape a bull in the bullring, at the end of third running of the bulls, on Monday, July 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos) #
A man is tossed by a bull in the bullring in Pamplona, on July 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos) #
Spanish Matador Javier Rubio, before a bullfight in the San Fermin festival at Pamplona's bullring on July 8, 2012. (Pedro Armestre/AFP/Getty Images) #
A bull pushes the horse of Spanish mounted bullfighter Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza during a horseback bullfight at San Fermin Fiestas, on July 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos) #
A puntillero, or bullfighter's assistant, delivers the coup de grâce, killing a bull during the first bullfight of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, on July 7, 2012. (Reuters/Joseba Etxaburu) #
Spanish bullfighter Fernando Robleno performs with a Miura's ranch fighting bull during a bullfight in Pamplona, on July 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) #
Spanish bullfighter Roberto Armendariz kneels in front of a bull during a horseback bullfight on Friday, July 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos) #
Spanish bullfighter Jose Miguel Perez 'Joselillo' performs during a bullfight at San Fermin Fiestas, in Pamplona, on July 7, 2012 in Pamplona, Spain. (AP Photo/Ivan Aguinaga) #
The body of Navajito (Little Blade) is dragged away to be taken to the slaughterhouse following the second bullfight after being killed by Spanish bullfighter Javier Castano at the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, on July 8, 2012. The 640-kg (1,430 lbs) Miura fighting bull had earlier raced ahead of the pack of fellow bulls during Sunday morning's Running Of The Bulls, scattering runners in Estafeta Street and landing two in hospital. (Reuters/Joseba Etxaburu) #
Spanish bullfighter Rafaelillo performs with a Miura's ranch fighting bull during a bullfight in the San Fermin festival, in Pamplona, on July 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza) #

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