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Three people have died in the last 24 hours after suffering severe injuries during several bull-running festivals in Spain's Valencia region, local authorities said.

The three men were injured on different days during the past two weeks but all died within hours this week - a reminder of how dangerous these traditional events, which are also the target of criticism by animal rights groups, can be.

The town of Picassent held a day of mourning on Wednesday after one of its residents died due to a severe head trauma after more than a week in intensive care.

Bull-running festivals, where groups of people run in front of one or more fighting bulls, are a long-standing Spanish tradition with many towns holding such events each year.

During the eight-day San Fermin Festival in Pamplona this month, the most popular such fiesta, eight people were gored as residents and tourists celebrated the return of the bull runs after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. No deaths occurred there.

In total, 478 people have been injured in these events, which usually end with the bovines being killed in the bullring, this year.

Animal rights group PACMA demanded on Wednesday the prohibition of what it called a "cruel and dangerous" tradition.