Spain will begin the process of suspending Catalan autonomy on Saturday in the wake of the unofficial independence vote earlier this month.
The government in Madrid said it would meet over the weekend to activate Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which would allow it to take over direct control of the region.
The leader of Catalonia’s parliament, Carles Puigdemont, said that the regional legislature would hold a vote on independence if Spain continued its political “repression”.
Many fear the political manoeuvres will result in further demonstrations and clashes between protesters and police, such as those that splashed across front pages across the world after the referendum on 1 October.
Spain’s Supreme Court maintains that the country is indivisible under the constitution of 1978, and the unofficial referendum for Catalan independence was illegal. However, Madrid has never before imposed Article 155, and it is questionable whether suspending regional autonomy will be successful in bringing the situation to a peaceful conclusion.