Spaniards have come down to the streets in support of the most controversial ritualistic sport of bullfighting, following a ban on Sunday.

Around 10,000 supporters staged a protest through the streets of the eastern city of Valencia, over the ban imposed by local authorities in different parts of the country. Protesters held the banners and called bullfighting “a key element of cultural expression”.

Famous personalities of the game, Enrique Ponce and Julian Lopez “El Juli” Escobar attended the march. They were joined by another famous fighter, Jose Antonio Morante Camacho, also know as Morante de la Puebla.

“The bullfighting world is aware of the problem and maltreatment we are suffering at the hands of a part of the political class,” said Morante de la Puebla in a report by The Nation.

“We are here to say, this is our life, it’s a tradition,” he added.

In his effort, Ponce said that the sport holds the cultural spirit of Spain. It has for centuries been a most-liked activity in Spanish culture, even if “people say no to it”. Moreover, he requested that “toreros”, or bullfighters must be treated and admired equally just like those artists doing different artistic activities.

In a countermove, some 20 semi-clad activists “protested against” bullfighting. All of them have red ink splashed on their bodies signifying the bulls’ suffering and urged to put an end to this tradition.

Government officials have been in a quandary whether “to invest in this sport or rather support the education system”. European lawmakers have also opposed “using farm subsidies to raise cattle for bullfighting”, reports Newsmax.

Six years ago, Catalan government imposed a ban on “corridas” as a sport. Authorities in Madrid have also slashed the subsidies to bullfighting.

The bullfighting tradition in also defined as a “blood sport” in Spain. It is also called as the Fiesta Nacional (The National Sport). It is believed to have originated in 711AD. The fascination for it has gone out in southern France and Latin American countries like Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Peru.