A quick guide on the controversy surrounding Catalonia's bid for independence

Catalan leader calls for international mediation in Madrid stand-off

Spain's Banco Sabadell, the country's fifth-largest bank with a large business in Catalonia, also attempted to calm jitters.

"You disappointed many people in Catalonia who appreciate you and are expecting a call to dialogue", Puigdemont said, after an unexpectedly hard-line TV address by the King on Tuesday night.

The autonomous community held a referendum vote Sunday in which over 90 percent of the 2.3 million voters opted to break away from Spain.

Puigdemont said the statement was "disappointing", and that the vote was "a European issue". The Spanish state, he went on, needed to ensure constitutional order and the rule of law in Catalonia, the richest region of Spain. Madrid insists that the referendum was illegal and refuses to negotiate with a government that has broken the law.

Asked what would happen if Spain seized Catalonia's autonomy, as it appears poised to do, Puigdemont told the BBC: "it would be an error which changes everything".

Carles Puigdemont said the regional parliament was planning to declare independence within days.

She said that Rajoy's strategy of using justice and police means to thwart the poll rather than dialogue has failed. A Catalan flag was removed from the plenary at the demand of a Spanish lawmaker, while some parliamentarians displayed signs supporting the referendum or calling for Rajoy to resign.

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But Spanish Federal authorities have often reacted to the idea of Catalan independence with repression and aggression, which many Catalan have felt disrespected their identities, Marc Gafarot, an expert in Catalan history at the Barcelona Center for International Affairs, told ABC News.

In the short term, the police crackdown on the independence movement could help Catalan separatists, who are part of a fragile coalition in the regional government, broaden their support. Spain's conservative government has said it will respond with "all necessary measures" to counter Catalan defiance, and is holding talks with opposition leaders to forge a consensus over what to do in response.

Appealing for global mediation to help solve the crisis, he told the corporation that he disagreed with the European Commission's statement that it was internal matter for Spain. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein is pushing for an investigation into police action, saying that the situation needs to be resolved "with full respect for democratic freedoms".

A pro-independence protest after Sunday's referendum.

Josep Lluís Trapero was called to testify in Madrid on Friday: Spanish authorities believe Trapero's 17,000-strong force did not do enough to prevent the banned referendum from taking place.

Zoido said the police had intervened only to withdraw election-related equipment, but had been confronted by major obstacles, including voters forming a human chain to stop police officers from leaving polling stations.

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