Edit: this is taking place at a time when political forces in the Philippines is trying to unseat the Church's influential role in the country and the Bishops preach against an RH bill.
Bangkok (kath.net/KNA) The Procession of the "Black Nazarene", a statue of Jesus from the 17th century, has drawn crowds of 7 to 8 million people. About 200 people were injured during the Catholic procession on Wednesday, 500 less than the year before, reports asian press service "Ucanews". The prayer procession through the streets of the Philippine capital took place on the 9th of January. It is among the most important religious feasts of the nation.
The most injuries were because of the throng, as believers attempted to touch the holy image, reported Ucanews, citing reports from the National Red Cross. Some participants were overcome by exhaustion. In the previous year the procession took 22 hours. At this years celebration 3,000 police and 1,000 other auxiliaries were in service.
Manila's Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle called for "the sacredness of life" in view of violent altercations in the last days. According to reports, a large number of politicians took part in the event.
The life sized figure of the crucified Christ was made at the beginning of the 17th century in Mexico. The black color, which is the reason for its title "Nazareno Negro", is supposed to have been caused by a fire on board ship as it journeyed to the Philippines. The Philippines are the only Catholic land of Asia, besides the former Portuguese colony of East Timor.