The main opposition said on Friday they would back special measures to impose central rule on the region to thwart the secessionist-minded Catalan government.
The Catalan government accused Madrid of taking “political prisoners” and thousands of protesters gathered along Barcelona’s Diagonal Avenue to call for their release.
Puigdemont made a symbolic declaration of independence last Tuesday, only to suspend it seconds later and call for negotiations with Madrid on the region’s future.
Spain’s Rajoy would probably call a snap regional election after activating Article 155 of the constitution that would allow him to sack the Catalan regional government.
Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont made only a symbolic declaration, claiming a mandate to launch secession but suspending any formal steps to that end.