MADRID – The Latest on Catalonia's independence bid (all times local):
Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has reacted to the Spanish ultimatum to backtrack on his independence plans or face a suspension of regional powers, tweeting "We demand dialogue and the response is to put article 155 on the table. Message understood."
The separatist leader was referring to the clause that triggers never-used constitutional powers that Spain's conservative government has threatened to invoke if the independence bid is not dropped before an Oct. 19 deadline.
Puigdemont had earlier proposed to regional lawmakers to freeze the implementation of secession to allow time for negotiating independence with Spain. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has rejected any dialogue as long as secession is on the table.
The only other acknowledgement of Madrid's warning came from Puigdemont's deputy, Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras, who tweeted to Rajoy: "A sincere dialogue is what the international community wants and what Catalonia expects, not confrontation and new threats."
Army troops and police are to march in Madrid as Spain's celebrates its national day, amid one of the country's biggest crises as its powerful northeastern region of Catalonia threatens independence.
King Felipe VI is to preside over the colorful annual parade Thursday as Spain awaits a response to a government request to Catalonia's leader to clarify by Monday if he has already declared independence, in which case Spain warns it may begin taking direct control of the region.
Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont announced Tuesday that he was using the claimed victory in a banned Oct. 1 referendum to proceed with a declaration of Catalan independence, but proposed freezing its implementation for a few weeks to allow for dialogue and mediation with the national government in Madrid.