Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Bomb explodes by Colombia bull ring, killing policeman

Published:Monday | February 20, 2017 | 2:00 AM

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP):

A homemade bomb exploded near Bogota's bullring yesterday, killing a police officer and injuring as many as 31 bystanders.

The artefact, whose loud explosion shattered windows in nearby apartment buildings, appears to have been left in a sewer outside a new youth hostel popular with foreign backpackers. It was detonated just a few hours before a scheduled bullfight, as police in riot gear were congregating ahead of a demonstration by animal rights activists.

Authorities did not give a motive for the blast and said they had no evidence it had anything to do with the resumption of bullfighting at the ring.

 

FIRST BULLFIGHT

 

Last month, police fired tear gas and arrested scores of youth demonstrators to control mobs that physically attacked spectators attending the first bullfight in the capital in four years. But more recent bullfights since have gone off without a hitch and yesterday's spectacle at Bogota's 1930s-era brick bullring was the last of the two-month season.

Mayor Enrique Penalosa said from the blast scene that a police officer, identified as John Herrera, was killed during the explosion. He refused to say how many people were injured, but said they had been evacuated to three nearby hospitals. Earlier, the city government said on Twitter that 31 people were injured, two of them seriously.

"The terrorists won't intimidate us," Penalosa said, adding that yesterday's bullfight would take place as planned despite the incident.

"We are going to do all that's necessary to capture them."

A video taken at the time of the explosion and broadcast on local TV shows a cloud of debris knocking down a phone cabling box and quickly engulfing a busy street corner as cars and pedestrians moved by.

Bogota's previous leftist mayor outlawed bullfighting in 2012. But the constitutional court later overturned the ban, ruling that it was part of Colombia's cultural heritage and could not be blocked.