05 de junio de 2020
English - News

Mexican Indians challenge quarantine with Holy Week procession

San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico, Apr 5 (efe-epa).- About 300 members of Mexico's Tzotzil Indian tribe on Sunday challenged the nationwide quarantine imposed by authorities to limit the spread of the coronavirus by staging a street procession at the start of Holy Week in San Cristobal de Las Casas, in southern Chiapas state.

Early on the morning of Palm Sunday, the tribe-members prepared the palm fronds for the religious procession in the city where the majority of evangelical organizations in Chiapas have congregated for Holy Week.

The procession was convened by different Christian groups, including evangelical Protestants, Baptists, Adventists and Pentecostals.

Chiapas is one of the Mexican states registering a significant increase in these denominations, according to Pastor Esdras Alonso Gonzalez, the leader of the Army of God organization in San Cristobal de Las Casas.

At the same time that the Tzotzils were breaking the so-called "Day of St. Distance" - a tongue-in-cheek reference to social distancing - and the self-isolation instructions issued by authorities to attempt to halt the coronavirus epidemic here, the Mexican Catholic Church was broadcasting and transmitting on television channels and via social networks assorted Palm Sunday Masses, albeit with none of the faithful on hand in local churches.

The procession covered about three kilometers (1.8 miles) amid music, dancing and the waving of flags that caught the attention of the few spectators and residents who emerged onto the balconies or roofs of their homes to view it.

During the march, which was participated in mainly by women and children, the Indians chanted religious praises to Jesus Christ.

For more than 16 days, the residents of San Cristobal de Las Cases have been remaining inside their homes as one of the measures being taken to keep the coronavirus from spreading through poverty-stricken southern Mexico.

To date, Mexico has registered 1,890 confirmed coronavirus cases and 79 deaths, with 19 of the infected people being located in Chiapas.

In Chiapas, about 42 percent of the population declare themselves to be non-Catholic, while 12.1 percent say they practice no religion at all, according to the most recent demographic figures from the National Statistics and Geography Institute (Inegi).

In Mexico City, Holy Week celebrations were focused on the celebration of a Mass in the Guadalupe Basilica, although the cathedral was practically empty and the majority of the churches have been closed due to the epidemic.




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