Authorities were stepping up security in Barcelona on Tuesday due to fears of a jihadist attack.
The Catalan capital is hosting two major events on the same day – a Champions League soccer match and a concert by Madonna, who will perform a second concert on Wednesday.
Catalan law enforcement agencies are deploying more than 700 officers to the Camp Nou stadium and the Palau Sant Jordi concert hall to ensure the safety of soccer fans and concertgoers.
The Catalan chief of internal affairs, Jordi Jané, has asked people for “patience”
The extraordinary safety measures come on the back of the Paris attacks, in which 130 people died. Several soccer games and music concerts have since been canceled elsewhere in Europe out of fear of new attacks, including the Spain-Belgium friendly match that was scheduled for last Tuesday.
The bands U2, Foo Fighters and Motorhead, as well as Prince, all canceled some or all of their European tour dates following the Paris attacks.
More than 600 agents will be stationed in and near Camp Nou, which is opening its doors three hours before the Barça-Rome game to have enough time for security checks. Only ticketholders bearing valid ID documents will be allowed inside, while backpacks, belt packs and other types of bags are banned. Trained dogs are being brought in to sniff personal belongings, and parking near the stadium has been prohibited since early this morning.
Meanwhile, 120 regional police officers and 175 private security agents will watch over the Palau, where nearly 30,000 people will see Madonna perform on Tuesday and Wednesday. Security checks will be very similar to those on display at the stadium.
The Catalan chief of internal affairs, Jordi Jané, has asked people for “patience” and reminded them to be at the venues with enough time to go through the checks.
Spain remains on a level 4 terrorist threat alert out of 5. The country is a target of Islamist terror and has arrested more jihadists this year than any other European country.
English version by Susana Urra.