Voting in Iraq's Anbar province
At first, the number of police and army protecting the Kenda polling station overtook the number of voters! The reason perhaps was the mortar attacks that echoed in the early hours ... and even the night before when three mortars fell near a polling station.
The early hours of the polling day in the capital of Anbar province, Ramadi.
Streets deserted , shops are closed - the city virtually shut down.
At first, the number of police and army protecting the Kenda polling station overtook the number of voters!
The reason perhaps was the mortar attacks that echoed in the early hours ... and even the night before when three mortars fell near a polling station.
Then slowly, people started to show up and the numbers started to grow.
The head of the Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) says the turn out in the whole of Anbar province was more than 30 per cent as of midday.
The voters I spoke to had two things in common: those who didn't vote in the 2005 general elections admitted making a mistake by allowing "the wrong people in parliament" while those who voted want a new government that provides services, jobs, stability and progress.
One voter says that his vote is "worth gold" and the other says he will convince his old mother to come and vote even if it meant for him "to carry her".
As afternoon arrives, a sound through the speaker of a local mosque urges people to vote: "Oh you the families of Ramadi, go and participate in the election. Choose the honest and those who have good reputation."
And as polls close, counting started and IHEC will have to gather all the ballot boxes from the entire province before sending them to Baghdad. The process may take a day or two.
And until the winners are declared and a new parliament and government is in place, Ramadi will probably celebrate the fact that the once al-Qaeda-controlled city has voted with almost no blood shed.