The hashtag #TauroMaquiaEsViolencia is trending in Spain [VIDEO] right now after tens of thousands of Madrid residents took to the streets to protest the animal cruelty and violence in bullfighting. As many as 17 animal rights groups backed the protest, saying that approximately 40,000 people were in the streets demonstrating against bullfighting on Sunday.

‘Bullfighting is Violence’

The slogan for the protest was “Tauromaquia Es Violencia” (TeV) or “Bullfighting is Violence” in English. Protesters were calling to end the so-called “sport,” which involves bullfighting and other bull-related events. While other cities in Spain [VIDEO], including Barcelona, have banned the sport, it continues in Madrid, despite the fact that the capital city shows no tolerance to dog cruelty.

Euroweekly News quotes Laura Gonzalo, a spokeswoman for the umbrella group who organized the march, as saying the sport of bullfighting has no place in Spain in the 21st century.

English translation: At the rhythm of batucada (a type of dance) we continue our day of struggle.

Spanish society needs to change

Besides the events involving the torture and death of bulls, protesters also demanded that any event involving the animals should be removed from Spain’s national cultural heritage register, which supports the events, funding them with taxpayers money. They also called for increasingly stronger protection laws for animals.

Gonzalo went on to say they were protesting to demand a change in society and requesting politicians to have the courage to listen to animal rights protesters and to take the necessary steps to abolish the sport of bullfighting.

The protest march started in the Puerta del Sol square in the centre of Madrid and continued through the streets.

Red powder flies to symbolise blood

According to media reports, besides the banners carried by the animal rights activists, 500 of the protesters broke the traditional bullfighter lances and threw a cloud of red powder in the Puerta del Sol to symbolise the blood of an estimated 20,000 defenceless bulls who died in the previous year in bullfights.

English translation: We fight for all animals, those who are cruelly tortured and murdered, those who have no rights. Those to whom the unjust laws of this country do not condemn animal abuse, but it is enough already! We will not stop until the abolition.

As noted by the Daily Sabah, several Spanish celebrities supported the demonstration, including singer Mari de Chambao, journalist and writer Pilar Eyre and actress Emma Ozores. The protest was also supported by Juan Carlo Monedero, who is the co-founder of the Podemos party. Monedero said the sport should no longer be thought of as part of the Spanish culture. He went on to say Madrid doesn’t tolerate cruelty towards dogs and asked why the city tolerates the mistreatment of bulls.

The bullfighting issue has been the subject of many reports and protests over the years with some who are in favour of the sport saying it is a part of the culture of Spain, and others arguing against the violence against defenseless bulls.