Revelers hurl tomatoes in Spanish festival amid higher security

BUNOL, Spain, Aug 30 (Reuters) - More than 20,000 revelers threw 160 tonnes of over-ripe tomatoes at each other in Spain on Wednesday in an epic, annual food fight known as the "Tomatina."

Amid higher security measures after the recent Islamist attacks in Catalonia, partygoers from Spain and abroad gathered for the messy battle in the town of Bunol in eastern Spain, held every year on the last Wednesday of August.

Revelers crammed the narrow streets of Bunol to smear each other with squashed tomatoes.

Security at the event - including police and local safety personnel - was stepped up after militant attacks in Catalonia earlier this month killed 16 people, the Civil Guard said.

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Annual Tomatina festival in Bunol, Spain
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Annual Tomatina festival in Bunol, Spain
BUNOL, SPAIN - AUGUST 30: Revellers enjoy the atmosphere in tomato pulp while participating the annual Tomatina festival on August 30, 2017 in Bunol, Spain. An estimated 22,000 people threw 150 tons of ripe tomatoes in the world's biggest tomato fight held annually in this Spanish Mediterranean town. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
BUNOL, SPAIN - AUGUST 30: Revellers enjoy the atmosphere in tomato pulp while participating the annual Tomatina festival on August 30, 2017 in Bunol, Spain. An estimated 22,000 people threw 150 tons of ripe tomatoes in the world's biggest tomato fight held annually in this Spanish Mediterranean town. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
BUNOL, SPAIN - AUGUST 30: Revellers take part in the annual Tomatina festival on August 30, 2017 in Bunol, Spain. An estimated 22,000 people threw 150 tons of ripe tomatoes in the world's biggest tomato fight held annually in the Spanish Mediterranean town. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
BUNOL, SPAIN - AUGUST 30: Revellers enjoy the atmosphere in tomato pulp while participating the annual Tomatina festival on August 30, 2017 in Bunol, Spain. An estimated 22,000 people threw 150 tons of ripe tomatoes in the world's biggest tomato fight held annually in this Spanish Mediterranean town. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
VALENCIA, SPAIN - AUGUST 30: Revelers enjoy in tomato pulp during the annual La Tomatina festival in Bunol district of Valencia, Spain on August 30, 2017. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VALENCIA, SPAIN - AUGUST 30: A couple kiss each other while lying in tomato pulp during the annual La Tomatina festival in Bunol district of Valencia, Spain on August 30, 2017. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VALENCIA, SPAIN - AUGUST 30: Revelers enjoy in tomato pulp during the annual La Tomatina festival in Bunol district of Valencia, Spain on August 30, 2017. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VALENCIA, SPAIN - AUGUST 30: Revelers hurl tomatoes during the annual La Tomatina festival in Bunol district of Valencia, Spain on August 30, 2017. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VALENCIA, SPAIN - AUGUST 30: Revelers enjoy in tomato pulp during the annual La Tomatina festival in Bunol district of Valencia, Spain on August 30, 2017. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VALENCIA, SPAIN - AUGUST 30: Revelers hurl tomatoes during the annual La Tomatina festival in Bunol district of Valencia, Spain on August 30, 2017. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A woman cleans the front door fo a pastery shop during the annual 'Tomatina' festival in the eastern town of Bunol, on August 30, 2017. The iconic fiesta -- which celebrates its 72nd anniversary and is billed at 'the world's biggest food fight' -- has become a major draw for foreigners, in particular from Britain, Japan and the United States. / AFP PHOTO / JAIME REINA (Photo credit should read JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images)
A resident peers out of her door during the annual Tomatina festival in Bunol near Valencia, Spain, August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Heino Kalis
Revellers on a truck throw tomatoes into the crowd during the annual Tomatina festival in Bunol near Valencia, Spain, August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Heino Kalis
A reveller covered in tomato pulp takes part in the annual 'Tomatina' festival in the eastern town of Bunol, on August 30, 2017. The iconic fiesta -- which celebrates its 72nd anniversary and is billed at 'the world's biggest food fight' -- has become a major draw for foreigners, in particular from Britain, Japan and the United States. / AFP PHOTO / JAIME REINA (Photo credit should read JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images)
A man cleans his front door during the annual 'Tomatina' festival in the eastern town of Bunol, on August 30, 2017. The iconic fiesta -- which celebrates its 72nd anniversary and is billed at 'the world's biggest food fight' -- has become a major draw for foreigners, in particular from Britain, Japan and the United States. / AFP PHOTO / JAIME REINA (Photo credit should read JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images)
BUNOL, SPAIN - AUGUST 30: Revellers enjoy the atmosphere in tomato pulp while participating the annual Tomatina festival on August 30, 2017 in Bunol, Spain. An estimated 22,000 people threw 150 tons of ripe tomatoes in the world's biggest tomato fight held annually in this Spanish Mediterranean town. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
VALENCIA, SPAIN - AUGUST 30: Revelers enjoy in tomato pulp during the annual La Tomatina festival in Bunol district of Valencia, Spain on August 30, 2017. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A reveller covered in tomato pulp takes part in the annual 'Tomatina' festival in the eastern town of Bunol, on August 30, 2017. The iconic fiesta -- which celebrates its 72nd anniversary and is billed at 'the world's biggest food fight' -- has become a major draw for foreigners, in particular from Britain, Japan and the United States. / AFP PHOTO / JAIME REINA (Photo credit should read JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images)
Revellers covered in tomato pulp take part in the annual 'Tomatina' festival in the eastern town of Bunol, on August 30, 2017. The iconic fiesta -- which celebrates its 72nd anniversary and is billed at 'the world's biggest food fight' -- has become a major draw for foreigners, in particular from Britain, Japan and the United States. / AFP PHOTO / JAIME REINA (Photo credit should read JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images)
VALENCIA, SPAIN - AUGUST 30: Revelers enjoy during the annual La Tomatina festival in Bunol district of Valencia, Spain on August 30, 2017. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
VALENCIA, SPAIN - AUGUST 30: Revelers hurl tomatoes during the annual La Tomatina festival in Bunol district of Valencia, Spain on August 30, 2017. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Most of those were killed when a jihadist in a van mowed down crowds on Barcelona's famous Las Ramblas boulevard.

Similar measures will be taken at many Spanish national festivals, a spokeswoman for the Civil Guard said.

"I'm not really that worried," said one Tomatina reveler, Tess Papadopoulos, from Australia.

"There's lots of security around so I feel really safe."

The Tomatina is said to have originated from a spontaneous bust-up between locals in 1945, and has since drawn a huge following across the globe.

(Additional reporting and writing by Emily Lupton; editing by Jesús Aguado and Mark Heinrich)

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