Spain’s high court launched a criminal investigation on Wednesday against the Catalan police chief and organizers of the disputed referendum on suspicion of inciting rebellion against the state.

The summonses to appear before the court this week came after the Spanish king on Tuesday night charged that the Barcelona separatists were acting “outside the law and outside democracy.”

With each passing day, national authorities and the pro-independence forces in Catalonia appear to be moving inexorably toward a dramatic confrontation.

On Wednesday night, Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan regional president and a leading secessionist, made a televised address defending the decision to stage a vote deemed illegal and unconstitutional by the courts.