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CORRECTS TO TWO DOZEN POLICE OFFICERS INJURED AND NO DEATHS - Police and investigators inspect the site where a homemade bomb exploded near the Santamaria bull ring in Bogota, Colombia, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017. The artefact was detonated just a few hours before a scheduled bullfight, as police in riot gear were congregating ahead of a demonstration by animal rights activists. An official police statement said that 26 people suffered shrapnel and blast injuries, all but two of them officers. (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)

Dozens were injured in an explosion near a Colombian bullfighting ring


At least 31 people were injured in an explosion near a bullfighting ring in downtown Bogota, Colombia, CNN reports. 

Animal rights activists had gathered near the bullring in preparation for a demonstration just before the blast. 

Enrique Peñalosa, Bogota's mayor, tweeted saying two people were seriously injured and at least 10 police officers were among those hurt in the attack. The BBC reports that many of those injured officers were deployed ahead of the protest. 

"The terrorists won't intimidate us. We will do everything necessary to capture them."

Dozens of suspects were taken into custody, Bogota's police press office told CNN. 

It remains unclear whether the blast is linked to the protests, which have become common since the city reinstated bullfighting this year. Bullfighting has long been the subject of fierce debates within Colombia, with some arguing the events are part of the country's culture and others deeming it animal abuse. 

Bogota banned bullfighting back in 2012 when the mayor ended the city's contract with the local bullfighting company CNN reports. But the mayor's decision was overturned in court and in January, Bogota held its first bullfight in four years. That event led to a heated demonstration in which riot police had to intervene. 

Peñalosa has said he opposes bullfighting but has no choice but to allow it because of the court's decision. 

After the explosion, he tweeted saying it was safe to attend the event.

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