Bigger crowd: 300,000 devotees join prayer walk
POLICE and traffic officials estimated that at least 300,000 devotees joined this year’s “Penitential Walk with Jesus” to kick off the 451st Fiesta Señor celebration.
The crowd is four times more than the 70,000 pilgrims who participated in the dawn procession last year.
“We made an initial estimate at 60,000 at around 3 a.m. as the procession started but when it moved along the route, there were more devotees joining in, from one intersection to another,” said Chief Insp. David Señor, chief of operations of Cebu City Police Office (CCPO).
The two-kilometer prayer walk, which started at Fuente Osmeña at 4:00 a.m. yesterday, went down Osmeña Blvd. toward the Basilica del Sto. Niño in downtown area.
The flower-decked carroza (Spanish for carriage) bearing the image of the Sto. Niño entered the basilica’s gates amid the pealing of bells at 5:26 a.m. yesterday.
Chief Inspector Señor said the religious event was generally peaceful, except for one pickpocket incident and nine cases of fainting.
The crowd moved slowly toward the basilica. As of 5 a.m., police said several devotees were still in Colon St., heading toward the church.
“There were police personnel deployed. It was generally peaceful except for a little commotion, when the devotees went to grab flowers (from the carroza),” Señor said.
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