'El Clasico' sparks pro-independence protests near Barcelona stadium

# 19 December 2019 01:53 (UTC +04:00)

Chanting “Independence” and “Free political prisoners”, several thousand Catalan protesters gathered near Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium on Wednesday hours before the home side was to face rivals Real Madrid in Spain’s most high-profile match.

Despite a heavy police presence, some of them blocked a major avenue near the stadium, disrupting traffic ahead of the game which finished 0-0.

Minutes before the match began Catalan police broke up fighting that flared between some Barcelona fans and pro-independence protestors, detaining one person for throwing projectiles at them.

As the second half got underway masked demonstrators broke down an exterior fence in a failed attempt to gain entry to the stadium, a police spokesman said.

The group set fire to waste containers to create a barricade before several vans of police arrived to disperse the crowd, Reuters TV footage showed.