Spain’s breakaway-minded Catalonia region upped the ante in its conflict with the central government Tuesday, saying that it intended to ignore a court ruling and allow a symbolic vote on independence to go ahead this weekend, reports

 Catalonia’s threat sets the stage for a tense weekend in a region where pro-independence demonstrations have attracted hundreds of thousands of ardent supporters in recent years. The central government said it expects Catalonia to respect the court decision and hasn’t indicated how it might respond on Sunday if it doesn’t.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called the consultation a “referendum undercover” and urged judges to block the secondary move.

Catalonia is an industrial and commercial titan in Spain and pays far higher taxes than any other regional community.

It accounts for over 20% of Spain’s GDP, and only 8% is ploughed back into it by the state.

The Catalan community represents 16% of the total Spanish population.

Spain, which is still struggling to recover from the credit crunch in 2008 and the Eurozone debt crisis of 2010, is concerned that the vote would tear the country apart financially.