Updated: Wednesday, 03 September 2014 15:46 | By Agence France-Presse

Ban on bullfighting in Colombian capital lifted

A ban on bullfighting in Colombia's capital was lifted by the country's highest court which ruled that the prohibition violated the "right to artistic expression".

Ban on bullfighting in Colombian capital lifted

A mounted bullfighter performs during a bullfight at La Santamaria bullring in Bogota, Colombia, on January 23, 2011 - by Felipe Caicedo

Mayor Gustavo Petro, a former leftist congressman and guerrilla fighter, had barred bullfighting nearly two years ago on grounds it was cruel to the animals.

But the Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday that the ban violated "the right to artistic expression" by people who loved this tradition that was "legally regulated."

Colombians are among the most avid fans of bullfighting in Latin America and the court ruling followed a suit filed by a company that organizes bullfights in Bogota.

The city government now has six months to resume bullfights.

In December 2012 Petro had rescinded a contract that allowed bullfights in Bogota's bull ring called La Santamaria -- one of the most important such arenas in Colombia.

Debate on violence in bullfighting has been raging in recent years in Spain and across Latin America.

In 2011 the Ecuadoran capital Quito held a referendum in which it was decided bulls could be fought but not put to death in the arena.

In 2010 Spain's Catalonia region, the capital of which is Barcelona, banned bullfights altogether, although it had only one arena left that still staged them.

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