Protesters took the chance for global media coverage inside Camp Nou, the Barcelona football stadium [Albert Gea/Reuters]

Barcelona, Spain – Police have shot foam bullets at protesters in Barcelona on Wednesday night as thousands of Catalan independence supporters staged a demonstration ahead of the widely anticipated El Clasico football match between the country’s biggest sporting rivals.

Carrying Catalan separatist flags and posters which said “Spain, Sit and Talk” in English, protesters brought the streets around the Camp Nou stadium to a standstill before the game between Barcelona and Real Madrid. As the night progressed, large waste containers were set on fire by hooded protesters.

Inside the world-famous stadium, the game was brought to a brief halt as pro-independence fans lobbed inflatable balls onto the

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