Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy says he wants the Senate to give him direct power to dissolve the regional Catalan government and to call an early election as soon as possible.

Rajoy said after meeting with his cabinet on Saturday that the central government needs to take the unprecedented step of assuming control of Catalonia to "restore order" in the face of a secession effort backed by the regional government.

He is proposing that the powers of Catalan officials be taken over by central government ministers.

Rajoy's government is activating a previously untapped constitutional article to take control of Catalonia.

The move is aimed at blocking the independence movement that has gained pace since a disputed referendum on separating Catalonia from Spain at the beginning of the month.

Officials in Catalonia says regional leader Carles Puigdemont plans to join an afternoon protest before delivering a speech in response to the Spanish government's decision to take over the regional cabinet's functions.

In the streets of Barcelona, banging pots and pans and honking cars greeted Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's announcement Saturday that the central government wants to replace the regional cabinet to block its bid to break away from Spain.

At the national level, Pablo Echenique, a secretary in the far-left Podemos party, vowed to work to oust Rajoy and his conservative Popular Party.

Pro-business Ciudadanos (Citizens) party president Albert Rivera says he supports the announced measures to heal divisions created by the Catalan independence movement and to provide the security companies need to remain in Catalonia.