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One dead, 800 injured in Philippine Catholic parade

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Catholic devotees jostle for position as they try to touch the life-size statue of the Black Nazarene as it arrives at the Quiapo Church during the annual procession in Manila early January 10, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

One devotee has died and more than 800 people have been injured in the Philippine capital when millions joined a religious procession featuring a blackened image of Jesus, officials said.

The annual feast of the Black Nazarene, one of the world's largest Catholic festivals, drew 3.5 million barefoot devotees on Tuesday in what police described as a "generally peaceful" event despite crowds jostling to touch the icon.

However, a former jail officer died of a heart attack after joining the scramble to climb onto the carriage bearing an image of the centuries-old Black Nazarene on Tuesday morning, city officials and police said Wednesday.

People in the mainly Catholic Asian nation risk life and limb to kiss or touch the icon with towels, believing the Black Nazarene to possess miraculous powers.

Two people died during the 2016 event.

More than 800 people were hurt in this year's procession, including one who sustained a suspected neck and spine injury in a fall, according to the Philippine Red Cross.

The procession began before dawn on Tuesday and ended after midnight, some 22 hours later.

During the parade police shut down mobile phone signals in many areas of Manila to prevent potential terror attacks on the procession.

(Source: AFP)


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