At least one person is dead and 800 others were injured in Manila, Philippines, where 3.5 million barefoot Roman Catholics followed a blackened statue of Jesus Christ, known as the Black Nazarene, which is believed to have healing powers.
The procession, one of the largest Catholics festivals in the world, took place Tuesday, with officials reporting on the mass injuries a day later, despite describing the event as “generally peaceful.”
AFP reported that the one known death so far was of a former jail officer, who suffered a heart attack after attempting to climb onto the carriage pulling the centuries-old statue.
The Black Nazarene, brought to the country by Spanish missionaries in 1606, is believed to have ‘miraculous powers,’ such as healing people who touch it from illnesses. Others seek blessings and forgiveness for sins.
Reuters reports that other processions and religious rites are held across the largest Catholic nation in Asia, with as many as 105 million believers celebrating the major feast.