MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - After more than 22 hours, the procession of the image of the Black Nazarene has ended.
The image of the Nazarene reached the doors of the Quiapo Minor Basilica past 6 a.m., ending what could be considered as the longest procession in the annual religious celebration's history.
At least 2 million devotees from across the country took part in the traditional grand annual procession of the Black Nazarene. The Manila Police District estimated that a total of about 8.5 million participated during the event.
Waving their white towels, devotees welcomed the dark-skinned Christ as it was returned to its altar. A Eucharistic celebration followed.
Some of the devotees also scrambled to get a fragment of the rope used in pulling the carriage of the image.
Meanwhile, the swarm of people at Plaza Miranda is gone. Street cleaners from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the city government have started sweeping the trash left by the devotees along the route of the procession.
Tension ensued during the Black Nazarene procession in Manila after devotees refused authorities' efforts to shorten its route.
Manila police and some of the millions of devotees engaged in a shoving match at around 9 p.m. after authorities tried to implement the decision of Monsignor Clemente Ignacio, rector of Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, to no longer follow the original route and instead bring the religious icon directly to the Quiapo church.
Devotees of the Black Nazarene became angry when police tried to direct the carriage carrying the image left toward Villalobos Street in Manila.
People even made a human barricade to force the procession to follow its original route.
The procession was earlier stalled after the rear tires of the carriage of the image of the Black Nazarene broke down. The carriage’s third tire broke down at the corner of Katigbak Drive and Roxas Boulevard, radio dzMM’s Noel Alamar reported.
One of the ropes connected to the carriage also broke, causing a delay in the procession in the area of Roxas Boulevard and Padre Burgos Street near Manila Hotel on Monday.
Nevertheless, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Allan Purisima heaved a sigh of relief after the procession ended relatively peaceful, amid earlier threats of a terror attack aimed at the devotees of the procession.
“Naging matagumpay naman ang ating security operations sa kapistahan ng Quiapo,” Purisima said. “In general peaceful po ang situation…tuloy-tuloy pa rin po ang deployment ng mga police natin at hindi po inaalis yung mga nandito sa Quiapo Church.”
Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, meanwhile, confirmed a report that a house in Baseco compound was raided after one of the suspected terrorists was spotted in the area.
However, police arrested several individuals but they were released after the search yielded no evidence of any explosive materials.
“Nadala naman yung tao, nai-mbestigahaan sa headquarters. Wala namang nakuhang ebidensya, kaya ni-release din,” Lim said.
The event highlights the 405th celebration of the feast of the traslacion, which commemorates the transfer of the sacred image from the Recollect Church in Intramuros, Manila to the Quiapo Church in 1787.
At least 1,000 devotees were injured during the 22-hour procession. - with reports from Henry Atuelan and Noel Alamar, dzMM; ANC