Spain’s high court launched an investigation against Catalan officials Wednesday after King Felipe VI of Spain accused separatists of division.
The investigation will be against Catalan police and organizers who are accused of inciting a rebellion against the state as tensions between the Spanish government and Catalan separatists continue to grow.
King Felipe reprimanded the Catalonians in a rare national address Tuesday, calling this weekend’s independence referendum “illegal” and accusing Catalan authorities of “eroding the harmony and coexistence within Catalan society.”
“They have sought to shatter the unity of Spain and national sovereignty, which is the right of all Spaniards to decide democratically on their life together,” Felipe said.
“It is the responsibility of the legitimate powers of the state to ensure constitutional order and the normal functioning of our institutions, the validity of the state of law and self-government in Catalonia.”
Catalonia’s leader, Carles Puigdemont, announced just before the speech plans to declare independence from Spain within 48 hours after the vote results are counted.
The 49-year-old monarch, however, insisted that Spain would remain united.
“On this path — in this better Spain that we all wish for — Catalonia will also be there.”
Felipe’s speech comes days after Catalan authorities revealed that of the 2.3 million people who voted Sunday, 90 percent were in favor of independence. However, only half of those eligible to vote cast a ballot.
Tensions escalated at voting centers when clashes ensued between police and separatist voters. A general strike was called for by Catalan officials on Tuesday to protest the violence.
By Sara Shayanian