The Spanish Premier has added fuel to the fire by reacting to Catalonia's declaration of independence by dissolving the regional Parliament, dismissing its President, senior ministers and chief of police despite asking for "calm". To any outside observer this looks like a recipe for disaster.
Premier Rajoy and King Felipe have adopted an imperial approach to the Catalan attempt to gain independence from the beginning. They have opposed a regional democratic vote, giving Spanish police a free hand to use violence against voters on the day of the referendum.
Catalonia is split almost evenly on the question of independence so a democratic vote might have resulted in a win for either side. But an aloof and rigid government in Madrid refused to allow such a vote to take place. In this they were backed by the European Union who plead that there could be too many countries around for them to govern if secessions happen.
The Catalan response is firm and more responsible. They will oppose the heavy-handedness from Madrid by non-violent means, civil disobedience and passive resistance. As these are very powerful tools, more powerful in the long run than violence and physical force, the Spanish could have a long struggle on their hands.
At least that will be true if the Catalan independence struggle remains non-violent in the strictest sense.