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The first Barça-Madrid match of the season is ever closer. The delayed Clásico will now be played at 8pm local time on 18th December, but protests are expected to start hours earlier.

"We've always defended freedom of expression"

"I'm convinced the Clásico will be played. We hope that everyone will have space in the match against Real Madrid to express themselves freely. We've always defended freedom of expression and, from that, calm with our members and coordination with the Mossos [Catalan police]", the club's first vice-president, Jordi Cardoner, said today.

"In Camp Nou, we've had free expression for many years and we'll continue to keep it," he added. Cardoner was speaking in Milan today ahead of this evening's Champions League clash with Inter, its last of the group stage. Barça is calm ahead of the match, knowing it is guaranteed to go through first in group F.

The protests

Earlier today, Catalan protest platform Tsunami Democràtic called its supporters to gather around the stadium at 4pm next Wednesday. They say that "in an exceptional situation, exceptional actions must be taken" and lament the "impossibility of agreeing" with the clubs "the opportunity to make visible, in the stands and on the field [...] the call to dialogue that Spain is ignoring".

According to the platform, over 18,000 people have already signed up to take part in the protest, many of whom have tickets to the match.