The Catalan crisis has escalated very quickly since the clashes on Sunday. On Tuesday, a "total stoppage" saw a strike, more mass protests and more than 50 blockades of roads and motorways across the region.

On Tuesday night, King Felipe made a stern statement to the nation condemning Catalan separatist leaders and promising Spaniards that the Spanish Crown would see the rule of law and Constitution upheld to defend the rights of all Spaniards.

On Wednesday, Spain's leading stock index fell 2.85%, with two banks, Sabadell and Caixabank, and a real-estate company, Inmobiliaria Colonial, based in Catalonia leading the falls.

At 9 p.m. on Wednesday evening, Catalan First Minister Carles Puigdemont made his own statement, half in Catalan and half in Spanish, in response to King Felipe's statement on Tuesday.

He described the last few days as "especially intense and charged with emotion".

Despite numerous scenes of open conflict and confrontation every day since Sunday, based on the issue of secession and national identity, Mr. Pugidemont said "the people of Catalonia" are "united, as one people, and come together to defend the values of democracy".

He reprimanded the King for his remarks, saying His Majesty had "lost an opportunity to address all of the citizens" of the Crown last night.

"I would like to address His Majesty directly, in a language I know he knows and speaks [Catalan]: not like that."

Mr. Puigdemont did not mention the declaration of independence directly, but earlier in the evening, the Catalan Parliament announced it had reached agreement for the first session after last Sunday's voting and violence.

That will take place on Monday morning and Mr. Puigdemont has asked to appear to make statements on the results.

The separatist road map suggests they will attempt to declare independence from Spain at some point during that regional parliamentary session on Monday.

Shortly after the Catalan First Minister spoke, Spain's Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saénz de Santamaría, made her own statements in response.

"Every message from Puigdemont is a trip to nowhere", she said: "outside of the law there is neither democracy nor rights".

"Puigdemont has been outside of the law for a long time."

She said she thought it "embarrassing" to see Puigdemont "remind the King of his constitutional duties", given both what the Catalan First Minister is proposing and the way he is going about it.