Black Nazarene parade in Manila

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Classes at all levels and work at the Manila city hall are suspended for the feast of the Black Nazarene on January 9, Mayor Joseph Estrada announced yesterday.

"The suspension was made to ensure public order and the safety of millions of devotees expected to join the procession of the Black Nazarene", Estrada said.

The Manila Police District (MPD) will implement a 48-hour gun ban in the city in line with the feast of the Black Nazarene next week.

In a frenzied display of religious fervour, men, women and children climbed over heads and shoulders and flung themselves at the centuries-old Black Nazarene that they say performs miracles.

Officers of the Manila Police District announced last month that the 10-day series of activities that began on December 31 has an estimated participants of 18.9 million.

"Enduring a challenging procession where devotees walk barefoot is also seen as a test of faith for some".

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The Philippines is Asia's Catholic bastion with a flock of more than 80 million.

More than 4,000 police and soldiers were deployed to ensure the procession was be peaceful, said Manila's police chief, Oscar Albayalde.

Badong said church officials have been meeting with officials of the Manila city government, National Parks Development Committee and other local offices in preparation for the event.

In Manila, the air continues to be thick with excitement as Black Nazarene devotees from all parts of the country converge for the traslacion or the commemoration of the transfer of the Black Nazarene's image from its original home in Intramuros to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene Church, Quiapo.

Guide to the "traslacion" procession. Thousands are expected to attend this year's "traslacion" procession in Manila, January 9, 2018.

Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, newly appointed commander of the military's Joint Task Force in the National Capital Region, said the military has always considered the possibility of a terrorist attack on the yearly feast.

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