Spain's famed bull run festival begins in Pamplona

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Pamplona's bull running festival
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Spain's famed bull run festival begins in Pamplona
PAMPLONA, SPAIN - JULY 5: Pamplona streets get ready for the Fiesta de San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain on July, 5 2014. Tens of thousands of people pack Pamplona's streets for a kick-off to Spain's best-known fiesta: the nine-day San Fermin bull-running festival. The annual Fiesta de San Fermin, made famous by the 1926 novel of US writer Ernest Hemingway 'The Sun Also Rises', involves the running of the bulls through Pamplona, Spain. (Photo by Evrim Aydin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Image)
PAMPLONA, SPAIN - JULY 5: A tourist poses with a bull figure designed for the Fiesta de San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain on July, 5 2014. Tens of thousands of people pack Pamplona's streets for a kick-off to Spain's best-known fiesta: the nine-day San Fermin bull-running festival. The annual Fiesta de San Fermin, made famous by the 1926 novel of US writer Ernest Hemingway 'The Sun Also Rises', involves the running of the bulls through Pamplona, Spain. (Photo by Evrim Aydin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Image)
PAMPLONA, SPAIN - JULY 5: Pamplona streets get ready for the Fiesta de San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain on July, 5 2014. Tens of thousands of people pack Pamplona's streets for a kick-off to Spain's best-known fiesta: the nine-day San Fermin bull-running festival. The annual Fiesta de San Fermin, made famous by the 1926 novel of US writer Ernest Hemingway 'The Sun Also Rises', involves the running of the bulls through Pamplona, Spain. (Photo by Evrim Aydin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Image)
A picture taken on July 5, 2014 shows the feet of an activist of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Anima Naturalis pro-animal groups painted red during protest against bullfighting and bull-running during the San Fermin festivities in the Northern Spanish city of Pamplona on July 5, 2014. The San Fermin festival is a symbol of Spanish culture that attracts thousands of tourists to watch the bull runs despite heavy condemnation from animal rights groups. AFP PHOTO/ RAFA RIVAS (Photo credit should read RAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
An activist of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Anima Naturalis pro-animal groups holds a placard as he takes part in a protest againt bullfighting and bull-running during the San Fermin festivities in the Northern Spanish city of Pamplona on July 5, 2014. The San Fermin festival is a symbol of Spanish culture that attracts thousands of tourists to watch the bull runs despite heavy condemnation from animal rights groups. AFP PHOTO/ RAFA RIVAS (Photo credit should read RAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Activists of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Anima Naturalis pro-animal groups show their hands painted red during protest against bullfighting and bull-running during the San Fermin festivities in the Northern Spanish city of Pamplona on July 5, 2014. The San Fermin festival is a symbol of Spanish culture that attracts thousands of tourists to watch the bull runs despite heavy condemnation from animal rights groups. AFP PHOTO/ RAFA RIVAS (Photo credit should read RAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
A participant celebrates the 'Chupinazo' marking the start at noon sharp of the San Fermin Festival at Castle square in Pamplona, northern Spain on July 6, 2013. Ten of thousands of people packed Pamplona's streets for a drunken kick-off to Spain's best-known fiesta: the nine-day San Fermin bull-running festival. AFP PHOTO/ PEDRO ARMESTRE (Photo credit should read PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants celebrate the 'Chupinazo' marking the start at noon sharp of the San Fermin Festival at Castle square in Pamplona, northern Spain on July 6, 2013. Ten of thousands of people packed Pamplona's streets for a drunken kick-off to Spain's best-known fiesta: the nine-day San Fermin bull-running festival. AFP PHOTO/ PEDRO ARMESTRE (Photo credit should read PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants hold red scarves as they celebrate the 'Chupinazo' marking the start at noon sharp of the San Fermin Festival at Castle square in Pamplona, northern Spain on July 6, 2013. Ten of thousands of people packed Pamplona's streets for a drunken kick-off to Spain's best-known fiesta: the nine-day San Fermin bull-running festival. AFP PHOTO/ PEDRO ARMESTRE (Photo credit should read PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants hold red scarves as they celebrate the 'Chupinazo' marking the start at noon sharp of the San Fermin Festival at Castle square in Pamplona, northern Spain on July 6, 2013. Ten of thousands of people packed Pamplona's streets for a drunken kick-off to Spain's best-known fiesta: the nine-day San Fermin bull-running festival. AFP PHOTO/ PEDRO ARMESTRE (Photo credit should read PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants hold red scarves as they celebrate the 'Chupinazo' to mark the start at noon sharp of the San Fermin Festival on July 6, 2013 in front of the Town Hall of Pamplona, northern Spain. Tens of thousands of people packed Pamplona's streets for a drunken kick-off to Spain's best-known fiesta: the nine-day San Fermin bull-running festival. AFP PHOTO/ RAFA RIVAS (Photo credit should read RAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants hold traditional red scarves during the 'Chupinazo' to mark the start at noon sharp of the San Fermin Festival on July 6, 2011 in front of the Town Hall of Pamplona, northern Spain. Tens of thousands of people packed Pamplona's streets for a drunken kick-off to Spain's best-known fiesta: the nine-day San Fermin bull-running festival. AFP PHOTO / PEDRO ARMESTRE (Photo credit should read PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images)
PAMPLONA, SPAIN - JULY 5: Pamplona streets get ready for the Fiesta de San Fermin in Pamplona, Spain on July, 5 2014. Tens of thousands of people pack Pamplona's streets for a kick-off to Spain's best-known fiesta: the nine-day San Fermin bull-running festival. The annual Fiesta de San Fermin, made famous by the 1926 novel of US writer Ernest Hemingway 'The Sun Also Rises', involves the running of the bulls through Pamplona, Spain. (Photo by Evrim Aydin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Image)
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PAMPLONA, Spain (AP) - Thousands of people have crammed into the main square and adjacent narrow streets of Spain's Pamplona for the start of the famed San Fermin running of the bulls festival.

The fiesta, an uproarious blend of hair-raising daily bull runs and all-night partying, was immortalized in Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel "The Sun Also Rises."

Revelers wearing traditional white outfits trimmed with red neckerchiefs and cummerbunds gathered for Sunday noon's launching of a firework rocket, which signals the beginning of the nine-day festival.

The regional government of Navarra said this year's festivities would be patrolled by 3,500 police to keep the adrenaline and alcohol-fueled events as safe as possible.

Animal rights activists protested Saturday, warning that 48 bulls are killed at the festival each year.

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