32,000 protesting outside El Clasico venue

Catalan separatist group Tsunami Democratic are staging a mass protest involving 32,000 ahead of tonight’s El Clasico match.

The group considers Catalonia as going through a situation of repression in which freedoms are diminished and they are demanding self-determination via an independence referendum from Spain.

The group’s plans are outlined by Marca, which states that 32,000 have already signed up to take part – about a third of the total stadium attendance of Barcelona’s Camp Nou.

A record 3,000 security officers employers for the clash, with this statement released on Wednesday morning: “Hello world, tonight Tsunami has a message for you.”

The match had been scheduled to be played at Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium on 26 October but due to the current volatility of the Catalan political situation, La Liga asked that the game be reversed to Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

That proposal was rejected by both clubs involved and with such a fluid period of unrest in Catalonia, the match was instead pushed back to 18 December.

“Tsunami Democratic is aware of the importance of the game between Barcelona and Real Madrid for fans of the sport,” Tsunami Democratic said in a statement last month.

“But this is an exceptional political situation. With people jailed, exiled and without [the right] to self-determination or their fundamental rights, there is no normality.

“Everyone must understand that all parties need to sit down and talk about freedom, fundamental rights and the right to self-determination in Catalonia.

“We call for a day of mobilisation on Dec. 18 and call on all citizens to reserve that date and come to Barcelona.”

Spain's Supreme Court sentenced nine Catalan separatist leaders to between nine and 13 years in prison for sedition over their role in an independence referendum in 2017.

Oriol Junqueras – the former vice-president of Catalonia and the highest-ranking pro-independence leader on trial – was handed the longest sentence of 13 years for sedition and misuse of public funds.

The prosecution had sought up to 25 years in prison for Junqueras but he, alongside the eight others, were cleared of a more serious charge of rebellion.

Following the court's verdict, Catalan independence supporters marched in Barcelona displaying banners that read "free political prisoners" while urging others to "take to the streets".

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