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27 Aug 2008 16:45
More than 40 000 Spaniards and tourists on Wednesday bombarded each other with tomatoes in an event billed as the world’s biggest vegetable war.
Six lorries dumped 115 tonnes of tomatoes in the centre of the eastern town of Bunol, which staged the Tomatina for the 63th time.
The one-hour battle momentarily got out of hand, with some of the “warriors” hurling tomatoes not only at each other, but also at people watching from their balconies.
A Japanese tourist was injured in the head in the tumult.
The only weapons allowed are squashed tomatoes, but some participants wore goggles and bathing caps, while others shielded themselves with rackets or sported wigs or hats made of watermelons to add to the fun.
Armies of cleaners then moved in to remove the tomato mush from the streets and walls, while participants washed themselves in a nearby river.
Bunol spent €90 000 to finance the event, which is believed to have begun accidentally when a scuffle broke out between youths and vegetable stalls were overturned.
Local authorities initially tried to ban the Tomatina, but it has become such a success that the town is planning to improve access roads to help more tourists get in. Participants come from as far as Australia, the United States and Russia.—Sapa-dpa
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