Held in northern Spain every July, the famous San Fermín festival or “Running of the Bulls” in Pamplona attracts visitors from all over the world. Every year there are reports of sexual abuse at the festival, but complaints increased dramatically during the 2016 event, leading police to increase their presence the Navarra capital over this year's festival.

‘Running of the Bulls’ 2017 in Pamplona

The "Running of the Bulls" event started Thursday at noon local time and runs up until midnight on July 14. This year the police presence in Pamplona sees an additional 500 officers in the streets.

With the population in the city expected to increase from the normal 200,000 to around a million, approximately 3,500 police officers from the Spanish National Police, local police and regional police force will be on hand to keep the peace in the people-packed and often crazy streets. The Spanish language ABC News reports that dozens of surveillance cameras have also been placed in the streets during the festivities.

French Gendarmes join forces with Spanish police

El Pais reports that the majority of the women who reported cases of sexual abuse are Spanish nationals who have traveled to the city for the festival.

Reportedly those responsible for the attacks are predominantly French nationals, leading to the addition of French Gendarmes to the police presence in Pamplona over the event. The increased police presence will be highly concentrated in certain areas of the city where more sexual assaults have occurred, including the Casco Antiguo historic district.

One of the worst reported cases involved five men from Seville, who were involved in the gang rape of an 18-year-old woman during the “Running of the Bulls” in July 2016.

All five are currently awaiting trial for their crimes, one of 19 serious cases reported that year. Each man is likely to receive a 22-year prison sentence for the gang rape when their sentencing is heard in the fall.

‘No is no’ is a popular slogan in Pamplona over the ‘Running of the Bulls’

In 2013, the Navarre Institute for Equality (INAI), a group of feminist activists, created a symbol displaying a red hand, which carries the message “No is no.” The slogan can now be seen throughout Pamplona on flags, posters and stickers as the festivities begin.

However, it is not just sex crimes that increase along with the crowds in Pamplona during the “Running of the Bulls,” as theft, assaults and other complaints also soar. Up until now sexual crimes have been low on the police’s agenda, with aggression being their prime concern. However, after the number of sexual assault complaints multiplied fourfold in 2016, along with the group rape by the men from Seville, preventing these attacks is now a priority. Eduardo Sainz de Murieta, chief of criminal investigations at the Policía Foral, went on to say that victims of sexual assaults are normally alone at the time of the attack and do not normally know their assailant.

Readers can watch the opening of the "Running of the Bulls" event below.