Huge crowd of Filipino Catholics gath­ers amid ter­ror fears

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Nation -

MANILA -- A mam­moth crowd of mostly bare­foot Filipino Catholics has joined a rau­cous pro­ces­sion of a cen­turiesold black statue of Je­sus Christ un­der ex­tra-tight se­cu­rity in Manila due to ter­ror­ism fears and re­cent bomb at­tacks in the south­ern Philip­pines.

Po­lice say they have not mon­i­tored any spe­cific threat but that they de­ployed more than 7,000 per­son­nel, in­clud­ing bomb squads backed by a sur­veil­lance he­li­copter, to se­cure the an­nual pro­ces­sion of the wooden Black Nazarene on Wed­nes­day along Manila’s streets. Po­lice ex­pect up to 5 mil­lion peo­ple may join the dawnto-mid­night pro­ces­sion.

Mobs of devo­tees in ma­roon shirts share in the be­lief that the Nazarene’s pow­ers cure ail­ments and foster good health and for­tune. The spec­ta­cle re­flects the unique brand of Catholi­cism, which in­cludes folk su­per­sti­tions, in Asia’s largest Catholic na­tion. (AP)

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