BARCELONA, Spain — Thousands of police and private security guards deployed Wednesday in and around Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium to ensure that a demonstration by Catalonia’s separatist movement did not disrupt one of the world’s most-watched soccer matches.
Spanish league leader Barcelona was hosting its fierce rival, No. 2 Real Madrid, and the separatists aimed to take advantage of the global media coverage to promote their bid for independence from Spain.
The game, known as El Clásico, was postponed from Oct. 26 because of fears that the separatists — then in the midst of a week of violent protests — would try to disrupt it.
Barcelona is the regional capital of the wealthy northeast region of Catalonia. Spain opposes any breakup of the country, saying it