Final Olé: matadors hold the last bullfights in Barcelona

Ban on centuries-old sport takes effect across northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia
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Bullfighter Julian Lopez 'El Juli' of Spain holds two bull ears and a Catalan flag during the second bullfight of the 2011 season at the Monumental bullring on July 10, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. This will be the last year for bull fighting at the Monumental bullring as the parliament of Catalonia has voted to ban bullfighting as of January 1, 2012. (Getty Images)
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Spanish matador Jose Tomas holds two ears and a tail at Plaza Monumental bullring in Barcelona, on September 21, 2008. Tomas retired in 2002, but came back in 2007 at a bullfight in Monumental, his favorite ring. Since then he has made sporadic appearances and is the only bullfighter who can still sell out Monumental (AFP/Getty Images)
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Bullfighter Sebastian Castella of France. The regional legislature banned the centuries-old tradition - which pits a sword-wielding matador in a skin-tight shiny suit and red cape against an enraged bull - last year after Catalans signed a petition against it (Getty Images)
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Bullfighter Jose Tomas holds a Catalan flag as he walks across the bullring after his performance during the last bullfight at the La Monumental on September 25, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. The bullfighting industry is still convinced it has a chance to overturn the ban and bring back the ‘toros’ next season to Catalonia, the only mainland region in Spain that has blocked the sport - or the art as its fans see it (Getty Images)
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Bullfighter Serafin Marin. Some 20,000 spectators were expected to fill a sold-out Monumental - the only bullring still operating in Catalonia - for Sunday's blockbuster corrida (Getty Images)
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People queue to buy tickets outside the La Monumental bullring. Spain's economic woes could also be a factor as regional governments such as Catalonia are under enormous pressure to cut spending and help the country trim its public deficit as it tries to dodge the euro zone debt crisis (Getty Images)
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A man carries a ticket between his teeth after buying one of the last available for the final bullfight in Catalonia. Spain's economic woes could also be a factor as regional governments such as Catalonia are under enormous pressure to cut spending and help the country trim its public deficit as it tries to dodge the euro zone debt crisis (Getty Images)
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Such austerity measures could make it difficult for the Catalonian government to pay Monumentals owner, Pedro Balana, several million euros for the building (Getty Images)
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Every year fewer Spaniards go to the bullring. The number of bullfights shrank by 34 percent between 2007 and 2010 according to official figures. Barcelona's Las Arenas ring shut in the 1970s and is now a shopping mall (Getty Images)
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A man looks through a gate at the La Monumental bullring on September 25, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. Catalonia is known for its constant wrangling with Madrid over greater autonomy and the right to maintain its separate culture, such as the Catalan language (Getty Images)
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A man holds a painting of a bullfighter as he stands outside the La Monumental bullring. Catalonia's bullfighting ban symbolises its drive to differentiate itself from Madrid and its traditions. \nThe only other Spanish region to end bullfights was the Canary Islands, in 1991\n (Getty Images)