MANILA, Philippines —Tight security has riled devotees trying to enter the secured area of the Quirino Grandstand for the Feast of the Black Nazarene Wednesday.
Entrance to the Quirino Grandstand has been barricaded this year for added security and marshals are having a hard time turning away devotees insisting on hearing the 6 a.m. mass before the procession starts.
Marshals had to shout at those trying to get past the barriers by force and at one point, devotees tried to climb over or crawl under the barriers.
One of the women devotees in the area said that last year’s procession had been better as there were no barricades preventing them from sitting near the grandstand.
Police officials said that roughly 160,000 barefoot devotees have turned up at the Rizal Park for the feast of the Black Nazarene.
Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office, relayed the crowd estimate from the Manila Police District and said that no injuries have so far been reported.
Chief Superintendent Alex Gutierrez, MPD chief, said their officers have fanned out the Rizal Park grounds to ensure a peaceful procession later.
Police officers made inspections in packs, circling many devotees, some of whom spent the night at the park for a chance to take part in the traslacion (transfer) of the life-sized sculpture of Jesus Christ believed to be miraculous by many Catholics.