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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.

Crowds ready to "rock the vote" at Congrés poliing station in Nou Barris, Barcelona

Lines of people at a Barcelona secondary school, Institut Joan Brossa / Roberto Lázaro

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.

Albert Acín

At Tiana, near Barcelona, at around 7am, local citizens had laready begun to set up the polling station.

Gemma Liñán

In parallel, the distribution of ballot boxes and voting papers to some of the polling stations was underway from 6am onwards.

Les Corts (Barcelona) / Marta Lasalas

Urnes, la Seu d'Urgell

La Seu d'Urgell / Alba Solé

Polling places in other parts of Catalonia are also full of local citizens. 

Escola Ferrer i Guàrdia El Masnou  Iu Forn 03

Ferrer i Guàrdia School in El Masnou / Iu Forn

Han vingut a preguntar quants eren. María Carbó

Vilafranca del Penedés / Maria Carbó

Davant llar infants Enxaneta María Carbó

The pre-school centre Enxaneta, in Vilafranca del Penedés / María Carbó

Can Mercader BAdalona Carlota Camps

Can Mercader community centre / Gisel Casas

CEIP Provençals  la gent- Roberto Lázaro

Provençals School, Barcelona / Roberto Lázaro

seu urgell alba sole

La Seu d'Urgell / Alba Solé

institut secretari coloma   palmer

Secretari Coloma secondary school / Jordi Palmer 

El Vilosell, Les Garrigues

El Vilosell, Les Garrigues