Disturbances around Camp Nou stadium lead to arrests and injuries
Tsunami Democràtic says it had planned to fly drones towing protest banners over ground during 'clásico' match
Clashes on the streets between police and demonstrators went on into the night on Wednesday in Barcelona, surrounding the protest organized by Tsunami Democràtic during the famous 'clásico' match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Some 10 people were arrested during the incidents, while the ambulance service attended to 64 people, 39 of them Mossos d'Esquadra police officers. Most of those treated were for light injuries only, although 16 people had to be taken to hospital.
The anonymous Tsunami Democràtic group had called on football fans going to the match - one of the highest profile fixtures in the world - to join its call for dialogue with the Spanish authorities by holding up banners reading: "Spain, sit and talk."
Demonstrators clash with police
Yet, during and after the match, disturbances took place outside the Camp Nou stadium, with protesters throwing objects at riot police and building burning barricades made of dumpsters on the nearby Travessera de les Corts avenue.
The scenes were reminiscent of the unrest in Barcelona that took place in October following the sentencing of Catalan leaders for their role in the 2017 independence bid, when Tsunami Democràtic's first major protest brought Barcelona airport to a standstill.
Wednesday night's incidents began soon after the match had started at 8pm, when a group of some 30 'ultra' fans confronted demonstrators, with the police intervening to keep the two groups apart and the first arrest of the night was made.
As the night wore on, the clashes with police continued, with demonstrators throwing bottles and other objects at officers, who responded by charging the protesters. Within the perimeter of the stadium other officers fired foam bullets at the crowds.
Protest did not go to plan, admits Tsunami
Tsunami Democràtic, an anonymous protest network backed by hundreds of thousands of followers, had identified the high-profile 'clásico' as the ideal scenario to focus widespread attention for its call for Catalonia's right to self-determination.
However on Thursday morning, the group admitted that the spectacular protest it had envisioned had not gone according to plan, due to the intervention of the Catalan police and a lack of cooperation from FC Barcelona.
Talking to Catalunya Ràdio station, the group said it had planned for two drones towing huge banners to fly over the stadium, with one featuring the "Spain, sit and talk" slogan and the other a message condemning "the political discrimination of the Catalan people."
The group also said that the football club had not given permission to make the "Spain, sit and talk" slogan visible in the stadium, but a spokesperson thanked the public for its involvement, with many fans in the ground holding up small banners with the slogan.