Mil­lions march for Black Nazarene

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

Nazarene along Manila’s streets. Po­lice were ex­pect­ing up to 5 mil­lion peo­ple to join the dawn-to­mid­night pro­ces­sion.

More than 800,000 devo­tees at­tended a Mass and the first few hours of the pro­ces­sion, na­tional po­lice Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Os­car Al­bay­alde said. Tens of thou­sands of oth­ers joined in and went as one of Asia’s big­gest re­li­gious events un­folded.

Au­thor­i­ties im­posed a gun and liquor ban and cell­phone sig­nals were jammed in the vicin­ity of the pro­ces­sion. Flights over the area were pro­hib­ited along with sail­ing in nearby Manila Bay and along a key river where spe­cial po­lice and coast guard forces guarded bridges that the mass of devo­tees passed through.

De­spite the threats and the trop­i­cal heat, mobs of devo­tees in ma­roon shirts dan­ger­ously squeezed their way into the tight pack of hu­man­ity around a car­riage car­ry­ing the life-size statue of Christ. They threw small tow­els at vol­un­teers on the car­riage, which was be­ing pulled by ropes, to wipe parts of the cross and the statue in the be­lief that the Nazarene’s pow­ers cure ail­ments and en­sure good health and a bet­ter life. –AP

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