A giant-sized flag which blocked the setting off of the opening rocket, a delay of 19 minutes in eventually launching the rocket, a policeman who suffered injury from a thrown bottle, some police charges and finally a second rocket which exploded among the crowd after being set off from City Hall balcony, were among the most relevant incidents at today’s opening event of the Sanfermin fiestas.
Moments before the Txupinazo was to be set off some youths attempted to enter City Hall square from Chapitela Street with ikurriña flags. The police mounted a charge against them and this created a lot of tension among the jam-packed crowd. One policeman was injured by a thrown bottle.
From inside the square, several people in disguise managed to unfold a giant Basque flag and hang it from side to side across the square on a wire. They managed this by casting a fishing line from one rooftop to another across the square and then they attached a rope and hung the giant flag which blocked the whole front of City Hall.
The Txupinazo opening rocket had to be delayed as, according to City Hall sources, the security question had first to be dealt with. A municipal policeman finally managed to cut the rope and immediately afterwards the launching of the opening rocket took place. According to the local newspaper “Diario de Noticias” the magistrate on duty has opened a legal case for an offence against public order.
Meanwhile, one of the rockets, set off from the balcony of City Hall after the initial opening rocket, crashed to the ground and exploded, causing some moments of panic among the crowd. Four people were minor injured.
The unknown persons climbed onto the roof of one of the City Hall buildings, and placed the flag across the front of City hall on a towrope from up there. A local policeman was finally able to cut the rope and allow the opening Txupinazo event to take place.
The mayor of Pamplona, Enrique Maya has expressed his “anger” for what he considers to have been “an attempt to torpedo” the start of this year’s Sanfermin fiestas.