San Fermin Festival Begins in Pamplona, Spain

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Tens of thousands of people packed Pamplona's main square on Wednesday for the launch of the "chupinazo" rocket that marked the start of Spain's most famous bull-running festival.

Made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s novel “The Sun Also Rises,” the San Fermin festival is known around the world for the daily running of the bulls and all-night partying. The first of eight runs came today when thousands look to outrun six fearsome bulls along a narrow 875 yards (800 meters) course through the city's cobblestone streets, with both beast and human often falling over — stomping on each other as they go.

Since record-keeping began in 1924, 15 people have been killed in the running of the bulls — the last victim 27-year-old Spanish runner Daniel Jimeno Romero in 2009. Already 15 people were injured with five taken to hospital for treatment.

After you have gone through the following pictures, do checkout the fantastic collection from last year’s San Fermin festival.

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Joseba Etxaburu / Reuters

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Denis Doyle / Getty Images Europe

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Eloy Alonso / Reuters

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SPAIN SAN FERMIN 2011

Thousands of people wave traditional red scarves after the setting off of the "chupinazo" rocket to announce the start of the festival. Josu Santesteban / EPA

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Pedro Armestre / AFP / Getty Images

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Javier Soriano / AFP / Getty Images

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Pedro Armestre / AFP / Getty Images

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Eloy Alonso / Reuters

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