A deluge of ordinary citizens has flooded to polling stations across Catalonia to keep them open and thus guarantee that today's self-determination referendum can take place. Some spent the night there, others arrived at five in the morning, with the first queues of voters already forming. Thousands of citizens are waiting for voting to begin and also keeping guard in case the police arrive with the intention of closing the polling place, as ordered by the Spanish justice system.
Despite the referendum being officially banned, local people have managed to keep the vast majority of the Catalan polling stations open, and the ballot boxes and voting papers have been arriving at the same time.
At some polling stations, the Catalan police, the Mossos, arrived to make their presence visible, but left without taking any action due to the large numbers of people who were guarding the doors of the polling places. One example was a school in Les Corts, where the police agents left to the applause of the congregated public.
In the town of Collbató, around 200 people gave shouts of excitement when the lights of the polling station were switched on.
At Tiana, near Barcelona, at around 7am, local citizens had laready begun to set up the polling station.
In parallel, the distribution of ballot boxes and voting papers to some of the polling stations was underway from 6am onwards.
Polling places in other parts of Catalonia are also full of local citizens.