Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy yesterday vowed to take legal action to block an independence referendum in Catalonia which he branded an "intolerable act of disobedience".
Rajoy gathered his cabinet for an emergency meeting to formally ask Spain's Constitutional Court to once again rule against the plebiscite called for October 1.
He also said all municipalities in Catalonia would be warned over their "obligation to impede or paralyse" efforts to carry out the vote which he said is unconstitutional.
Catalonia's regional parliament, which is controlled by separatists, voted late on Wednesday to push ahead with the referendum in the wealthy northeastern region which includes Barcelona, sparking the country's deepest political crisis in 40 years.
Spain's top prosecutor meanwhile said "criminal charges are being prepared" against the leaders of the Catalan parliament as well as officials in the regional government who prepared the referendum decree and that voting materials would be seized.
The warnings were brushed aside by a Catalan government spokesman, who insisted the referendum would take place despite a "covert state of siege" being imposed by the central government in Madrid.