Thousands of pro-independence protesters gathered outside of Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium on Wednesday, December 18, ahead of "El Clasico" - a match between rival football clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid. Approximately 3000 security officers were assembled outside of the stadium in anticipation of the demonstration. Protesters caused some disruptions inside the stadium during the match, and violent clashes between protesters and police were reported outside of the stadium.
Residual disruptions, including road closures and a heightened security presence, are expected in the vicinity of the stadium over the coming hours. Further protests are possible in Barcelona over the near term.
Protests have been ongoing since October 1, which marked the two-year anniversary of a failed independence referendum that took place in Catalonia in 2017. Several Catalan activists were consequently on trial for their involvement in the referendum, which Madrid deemed illegal. On October 14, the Supreme Court sentenced nine of them to between nine and 13 years in prison, prompting mass protests in Barcelona and other cities across Catalonia.
Individuals in Barcelona are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests as a precaution, anticipate a heightened security presence and associated transportation disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.