Nearly 600 people were injured in Manila yesterday when more than a million Catholics formed a raucous procession to honour a centuries-old statue of Jesus Christ, which they believe possesses mystical powers. Barefoot devotees surged over iron railings to try to touch the 404-year-old figure, which is known in the Philippines as the Black Nazarene.
The predominantly male marchers, wearing maroon clothing, gathered in heavy rain at the city's Rizal Park. Their numbers swelled to 1.5 million after nightfall.
The statue is believed to have been brought from Mexico to the Philippines in 1606 by Spanish missionaries.
Some believe the fact that the Black Nazarene survived fires and earthquakes over the centuries – and intense bombings during the Second World War – is evidence of its mystical powers.