About 300 animal rights activists were removed by Mexico City police when they blocked ticket booths over the weekend at the Plaza Mexico in an effort to prevent people from watching bullfights at the arena.

Activists from several different animal rights groups gathered Sunday at the Plaza Mexico and got into a shoving match with police, who pulled them away from the ticket booths so fans could enter the facility, media reports said.

At least four protesters were arrested and the rest continued their demonstration in the streets.

The Derechos sin Fronteras animal rights group, which opposes bullfighting, asked supporters to gather at the Plaza Mexico so they could form a human chain.

Animal rights groups have been calling for some time for an end to bullfights in Mexico City.

The Anima Naturalis group has staged a number of protests in Mexico City, with some demonstrations drawing more than 1,000 people.

About 9,000 bulls are slaughtered every year at rings in Mexico, where bullfighting dates back to the 16th century, animal rights groups say.

Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Ecuador are the Latin American countries where bullfighting is most deeply rooted.

Chile, however, banned bullfighting shortly after it gained its independence from Spain in 1818, but rodeos, another target of animal rights activists, are popular in the South American country. EFE