Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said that the protesting Catalan population can demonstrate if they want but urged them to do it respectfully and maintain the peace when Spanish football’s biggest rivals collide with each other.
The first Clasico of the season, which was was earlier scheduled for October 26, is all set to be played on Wednesday night when Barcelona host Real Madrid at the Camp Nou amid the huge protest movement of the Catalan separatists in the region.
“Fans can express themselves freely as long as they show respect to everyone. I don’t know what will happen after that game was suspended but football should be something that unites us, not separates us,” Valverde was quoted as saying by Reuters.
The 55-year-old also criticised the decision to postpone the Clasico and said that the game should have been played and gotten away with.
“At the time I thought it was better to play the match and return to normality and I think the same about tomorrow’s game. The fans will express themselves how they wish but the game will be played,” Valverde said.
The recent protest is latest in a series of many such demonstrations which started two months after Spain’s top court jailed nine leaders of the separatist movement over their role in the failed pro-independence movement of 2017.
A group of protestors have planned to demonstrate at the Camp Nou on the match day. “In an exceptional situation, we should act in an exceptional way,” said a statement from a group named Democratic Tsunami on Tuesday.
Reportedly, the authorities have assembled 3000 private and public security officers in their bid to make sure normalcy prevails. Also, it will be the first time that both the teams will share the same hotel and be a part of the same convoy from the hotel to the stadium.