Catalan independence protesters clash with police at El Clasico

    Demonstrators gather during a protest outside the Camp Nou during El Clasico.

    (CNN)Catalan independence protesters clashed with police outside the Camp Nou Wednesday as Barcelona hosted Real Madrid in El Clasico.

    The match between the two bitter rivals, one of the most-watched games in the world, had been postponed from its original October date by the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) after lengthy jail sentences handed to pro-independence politicians sparked furious protests across the region.
    Local emergency services said 46 people were injured in Wednesday's clashes, with eight requiring hospital treatment. Police said five people had been arrested, according to the AFP news agency.
      Masked protesters set up barricades using bins in the middle of the street and set them on fire, before throwing projectiles at police.
      Yellow footballs are thrown onto the pitch in protest as fans hold "Spain, Sit and Talk" banners.
      During the match, which finished 0-0, fans caused a brief stop to play after throwing balls onto the pitch. They also held up banners that read: "Spain, sit and talk" and "Freedom, rights, self-determination."
      These were the first violent clashes since October, when nine of the Catalan independence leaders were given between nine and 13 years for their part in a failed 2017 attempt to split from Spain.
      Three other defendants were found guilty of disobedience, fined and banned from public office for 20 months.
      In 2017, Barcelona was forced to play its La Liga match against Las Palmas behind closed doors at the Camp Nou after Catalonia's disputed independence referendum descended into violence.
      Police officers stand guard outside the Camp Nou.