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People arrive at the Municipal Sport Center, a polling station for the banned independence referendum, in Sant Julia de Ramis, Spain, October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Medina

(reuters_tickers)

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Catalans started to form queues to vote in an independence referendum early on Sunday morning in defiance of the Spanish government's attempts to prevent the vote, Reuters witnesses said.

Lines of voters were starting to form at several designated polling stations in Barcelona schools.

The referendum has been declared illegal by Spain's central government and it was unclear if voting stations would be allowed to open at 9 A.M. (0700 GMT) as planned.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Sonya Dowsett)

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