Police, Protesters Clash Outside Barcelona-Real Madrid Game

By Associated Press |

A man takes photos of fires that burn toward the end of a Catalan pro-independence protest outside the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Dec. 18, 2019.

BARCELONA – One of the world’s most-watched soccer matches was played Wednesday night amid heavy security as authorities sought to keep Catalonia’s separatist movement from disrupting the game between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

While the game in Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium began without incident, some riot police clashed with protesters in the streets outside, and plastic trash cans were set on fire.

The match, which drew nearly 100,000 spectators, was halted briefly when a few dozen balls were thrown onto the field, some of them bearing a message urging the Spanish government to open a dialogue with the separatists.

Thousands of police and private security guards were deployed in and around stadium as nearly 100,000 fans attended. During the street clashes, riot police used batons to force the crowd back.

Some protesters fought between themselves, while others threw objects at police lined up behind shields. At least four trash cans were set on fire, and a smell of smoke wafted into the Camp Nou.

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