Puigdemont, who told the BBC that an independence declaration would come within days, is due to address Catalans in a TV broadcast from Barcelona on Wednesday evening.
The Catalan police force, Mossos, told CNN that Spain’s high court had summoned highest-ranking officer to answer accusations of sedition — provoking a rebellion against the state. Spanish authorities believe local police did not do enough to prevent Sunday’s banned independence vote from taking place.
Instead, the monarch blamed the referendum’s organizers for the strife.
In a BBC interview recorded before the King’s statement, Puigdemont said his government would “act at the end of this week or the beginning of next” to split from Spain.
A unilateral declaration of independence would severely test the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. If Madrid decides that Catalonia is acting unconstitutionally, it could invoke emergency powers to take control of the Catalan government.
The sight of Spanish forces seizing Catalan institutions would further polarize opinion in the region, reeling from Sunday’s crackdown. Barcelona’s city police said 700,000 people took part in a day of protest against the police violence Tuesday.
Spain’s Foreign Minister denied that security forces used excessive force on Sunday. “If there was any use of force by police in any way it was because they were prevented from doing what they were asked to do,” Alfonso Dastis told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
King’s hardline speech
In his TV address, King Felipe called the situation “extremely serious” and said the pro-independence camp had demonstrated “an unacceptable disloyalty towards the powers of the state — a state that represents Catalan interests.”
The “irresponsible attitude” of the regional government has “put the economic and social stability of Catalonia and Spain at risk,” he said.
The King said Catalan authorities had acted “outside the law” and emphasized the crown’s firm support for the constitution, reiterating “commitment as King to the unity and permanence of Spain.”
The King’s address made it clear that he supported the stance of Rajoy, who has refused to entertain dialogue with the Catalan authorities.