Local Catalonian officials announced Friday, December 13th that some 3,000 police officers and private security agents will be deployed for the rescheduled La Liga “Clasico” game between Barcelona and Real Madrid amid renewed fears of unrest around the fixture.
Protestors from the Catalan separatist movement, Democratic Tsunami, have called for a “massive” protest outside Camp Nou, where Barcelona are scheduled to host Real Madrid in Spain’s most prestigious football fixture on Wednesday, December 18th.
Barcelona were originally scheduled to host Real Madrid at Camp Nou, the largest stadium in Europe, in the tenth week of La Liga on October 26th, but Spain's football federation postponed the game over security concerns, as Catalonia had witnessed violent political demonstrations.
“Police will guarantee that the match goes ahead, fan access to the stadium and security both on and off the pitch,” the Catalan interior affairs chief, Miquel Buch, told a press conference on Friday, December 13th.
Eugeni Sallent, chief commissioner of the Mossos d'Esquadra, the autonomous police force of Catalonia, said that around 1,000 officers from Catalonia's regional police force will be deployed for the game, along with 2,000 agents from other police forces and private security agencies.
The deployment is usual for matches deemed “high risk,” but this time it was boosted by “hundreds” of extra agents because of the call to protest by Democratic Tsunami, Sallent added.
AFP reported that the agents will guard the area of Camp Nou beginning on the morning of Wednesday, December 18th to ensure the teams, referees, and fans can enter the stadium without problems.
The police will also cordon off the area to ensure demonstrators cannot get close to the stadium.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are in the driving seat of Spain’s La Liga table, as they both have 34 points, and are bidding to snatch the lead through the Clasico crunch showdown.