Inigo Mendez de Vigo, a Spanish government spokesman and education minister, has stated that authorities will be called upon if the region persists with its quest for sovereignty.
He said: “No government wants any acts of violence but the government has to make sure that the law is obeyed and if there are people on the other side who do not want to obey the law, then, through the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police), we will have to restore the law.
“The government is not suspending the autonomy. What we are doing is restoring the autonomy.”
He also told The Times: “Those who run the Mossos d’Esquadra will be replaced by the interior ministry for now.”
The replacement of Mossos d’Esquadra leaders is another significant blow to Catalonia’s independence dream – the organisation was formed in 1983 as part of Spain’s pact to give the region further self-control.
The news of the disillusioned Spanish government’s desire to control the region’s police comes as the region is set to defy any attempt by Madrid to impose direct rule over the region which will see the region’s police stand in defiance of control from the capital.
The north east region’s government, based in Barcelona, said it was confident officials, including the police would defy attempts to enforce direct rule on the semi-autonomous region, should Article 155 of the constitution be activated.
Any refusal to carry out the wishes of Madrid could lead to unrest in the region, which as hinted at civil disobedience towards the Spanish government as it continues to crackdown on Catalonia over its independence referendum carried out on October 1.
Catalonia went ahead with the vote despite Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, backed by the Constitutional Court, deeming the vote illegal and attempting to halt the referendum with both the Guardia Civil and the national police using brutal methods to stop people from voting.
But leaders of the secessionist campaign said the referendum, in which 43 per cent of the electorate voted, gave them a mandate to claim independence from the rest of Spain.
Catalonia’s foreign affairs chief Raul Romeva told BBC radio: ”It’s not that we will refuse orders. It is not a personal decision. It is a seven million-person decision.”
Mr Romeva was asked whether he believed all institutions, including the police, would follow orders from Catalan institutions rather than obey the Spanish government.
He said: ”And from that perspective, I have no doubt that all civil servants in Catalonia will keep following the instructions provided by the elected and legitimate institutions that we have right now in place in Catalonia.”
Catalan authorities said about 90 per cent of those who took part in the referendum voted for independence.
But only 43 per cent of the electorate and one in three Catalans participated, with most opponents of secession staying at home.