Hundreds of thousands of people have turned out on the streets of Manila in the Philippines for the procession of the Black Nazarene.
The annual event sees devotees trying to catch a glimpse of the historic statue of Jesus of Nazareth.
Manila police estimated close to 300,000 were in the procession early Wednesday morning, excluding those waiting along the route.
As it slowly weaved its way through Manila, the huge crowds waved towels and handkerchiefs in a sign of praise to the life-sized model of Jesus kneeling with a cross on his shoulder, which is believed to have healing powers.
The statue was placed on top of a carriage and slowly pulled through the thronging masses by a group of devotees. After setting off at dawn, it arrived at the city’s Quiapo Church in the early evening, after stopping at 12 prayer stations en route.
Security was tight along the route of the parade. Officials had warned that extremists could attempt to avenge the death of Islamist militant leader Mohammad Jaafar Maguid, who was killed by police last week.
More than 4,000 police and soldiers were deployed to ensure the procession was be peaceful according to Police authorities.
The Philippine Red Cross said that by mid-morning they had treated more than 600 people for conditions like breathing problems, fainting and bruises. Three people were taken to the hospital.
With about 80 percent of the more than 100 million people professing Roman Catholicism, the Philippines is home to Asia’s biggest Catholic population.
(SOURCES: BBC NEWS, INDEPENDENT NEWS and VATICAN NEWS)
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