Spain passes law aimed at protecting bullfighting but effect on Catalan ban uncertain

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Spanish legislators have passed a law aimed at enshrining bullfighting as part of the nation's cultural heritage, but it remains to be seen if the bill will affect a ban on the blood-soaked pageants in the northeastern region of Catalonia.

The Senate passed the measure late Wednesday. In theory, such a law would take precedence over regional government legislation but control of events like bullfighting lies with regional governments and any attempt to roll back the ban in Catalonia would likely be challenged vigorously in court.

The bill stems from a petition from bullfighting supporters that got 600,000 signatures, among them those of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Nobel winning author Mario Vargas Llosa.