Catalonia will declare independence from Spain in a matter of days, the leader of the autonomous region has told the BBC.
In his first interview since a disputed vote on Sunday, Carles Puigdemont said his government would “act at the end of this week or the beginning of next”.
Meanwhile, Spain’s King Felipe VI said the vote’s organisers had put themselves “outside the law”.
He said the situation in Spain was “extremely serious”, calling for unity.
Tensions between Spain and the north-eastern Catalonia region continue to mount, days after the vote was marred by violence involving national police.
The Spanish High Court said it had begun an investigation into key Catalan figures on Wednesday on suspicion of sedition – inciting rebellion against the state – including the head of Catalonia’s regional police.
Josep Lluis Trapero, who leads the Mossos d’Esquadra force, is suspected of failing to control a demonstration during a police raid on Catalan government offices before the vote.
In his BBC interview, Carles Puigdemont said his government would “act at the end of this week or the beginning of next”.
He also revealed there was currently no contact between the government in Madrid and his devolved administration.
When asked what he would do if the Spanish government were to intervene and take control of Catalonia’s government, Mr Puigdemont said it would be “an error which changes everything”.
Under Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, the government in Madrid is permitted to impose direct rule on an autonomous regions