Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has described the decision taken by the Catalan Parliament on Friday to vote in favor of independence to be "a crime".
Rajoy spoke from the corridors of the Spanish Senate after it reacted to the decision in the Catalan assembly by approving the application of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution by 214 votes to 47.
This article will suspend Catalan autonomy, see Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and his government sacked and hand control of the region's key institutions to Madrid.
The Catalan regional assembly on Friday voted with 70 votes in favor, 10 against and 2 blank ballots to declare "the formation of a Catalan Republic as an independent and sovereign state with social and democratic rights."
"What has happened in the Catalan Parliament shows how necessary it was to approve this article," said Rajoy, who will attend an emergency cabinet meeting at 18:00 hours in order to put Article 155 into effect.
"It is a crime," he said of the vote taken by the Catalan Parliament, adding that the (Spanish government would "take the corresponding decisions to restore legality."
"I ask all Spanish to stay calm. We will do things well, with a measured and efficient response as we have done up to now."
"Spain is a great nation and we are not willing to let some people liquidate our Constitution," he concluded, saying he would make further declarations in the evening.