Organisers have revealed that a banned bullfight involving a 10-year-old child matador will go ahead Thursday in the southern French town of Arles despite protests from anti-corrida campaigners.
Michelito, a Franco-Mexican who is a bullfighting star in Mexico, is in France to take part in several "becerradas" -- bullfights for beginners in which the calves are not killed.
But French authorities twice cancelled the event last week, in Arles and nearby Fontvieille, following protests by an anti-bullfighting alliance complaining about the presence of a minor in the ring.
Michelito has killed 60 bulls in Mexico since he was six years old. The anti-corrida alliance said it targeted him over other becerrada participants because "he fights in corridas aiming to kill".
Michelito, whose full name is Michel Lagravere Peniche, was given the green light however to perform in the Atlantic town of Hagetmau on Wednesday, and organisers said the fight in Arles would also go ahead.
"The becerrada planned for last Saturday will take place on Thursday at 6:30 pm (1630 GMT). Michelito will take part along with three other bullfighting students," said Paquito Leal, head of the Arles bullfighting school.
The local prosecutors' office said that the situation "has absolutely not changed" since last week, when the Arles fight was banned on the grounds that the bullring did not conform to security standards.
But the mayor's office in Arles, which supports the event, said a safety committee would visit the arena before the fight and that there was "no reason" for it not to allow the fight.
"The bullring is new and it has been used before for this type of event," said a spokesman.