It was not to be. The Riau-Riau event was called off after some incidents which took place this afternoon in City Hall square. For more than half an hour some youths brawled with the local police and even some other spectators as they tried to prevent the initiation of the Riau Riau from taking place. At 5.45 p.m. the police retreated inside the City Hall building and some 25 minutes later the event was officially called off.
According to a statement released by City Hall, one municipal policeman was wounded in his face after a bottle was thrown at him during the fracas. Just as happened the last time an attempt was made to revive the event in 1996, once again the physical confrontation between some members of the public with the authorities meant that the event could not go ahead as planned.
On this occasion, from the very first moments, even before La Pamplonesa, City Hall brass band appeared a noticeable tension filled the air among the large crowd gathered in front of City Hall. Minutes later, at about 5.30 p.m. the first pushing and shoving began to take place at a particular corner of the square and it was here that all the scuffles took place. In spite of the attempt by some young people to help the police to open a passage way for the brass band and councilors, it was all to no avail. The local police decided to withdraw amid the vociferous cries of some people against the authorities with shouts of “UPN Kanpora”. Other members of the public counteracted with cries of “San Fermín, San Fermín”.
Even after the announcement by loudspeaker of the official cancellation of the Riau-Riau event, some scuffling continued between opposing groups of young men, some of these at the very door of City hall. Those in favor of the revival of this traditional Sanfermin event expressed their disappointment among the crowd. But in the end, it wasn’t to be this year either.