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River of Sheep Flows Through Madrid

Shepherds guided a flock of around 2,000 sheep through the streets of Spain's capital on Sunday.
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Shepherds lead their sheep through the center of Madrid on Oct. 25. Daniel Ochoa de Olza / AP

In a defiant demonstration of their ancient grazing and migration rights, shepherds halted traffic in Madrid Sunday as they guided a flock of around 2,000 sheep through the streets of the Spanish capital.

For the past 22 autumns, shepherds have led herds through the city, exercising the right to seasonal livestock migration routes that existed before Madrid grew from a rural hamlet to the great city it is today. Increasingly, these routes have been threatened by urban sprawl.

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A sheep pokes its head above the herd.Francisco Seco / AP
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Shepherds lead their sheep through Madrid.Daniel Ochoa de Olza / AP
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A sheepdog is surrounded by a herd in the streets of Madrid.Francisco Seco / AP

Matt Nighswander and The Associated Press