I be-leaf! Image of Jesus appears in a tree in Colombia prompting locals to break coronavirus lockdown as they gather to pray
- Image of Jesus on the cross appeared in a tree in Magangue, northern Colombia
- The scene prompted dozens of locals to gather and begin praying for protection
- Police were called and broke up the crowd for failing to follow lockdown rules
- Colombia has reported 1,579 cases of the virus and 46 deaths
Dozens of Colombians broke with the country’s strict coronavirus lockdown to gather in front of a tree – after an image of Jesus appeared in its branches.
The bizarre scenes took place in the town of Magangué, in the north of the country, just fours days after the country announced a lockdown to slow the virus’s spread.
Locals said people began gathering in front of the tree to pray for protection from the disease and for God to rid the world of evil.
Dozens of locals flocked to this tree in Colombia in violation of the country’s coronavirus lockdown after claiming an image of Jesus on the cross had appeared in the branches
‘The image appeared on the night of Sunday [March 29],’ local journalist Rodolfo Zambrano told Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.
‘The people ran with candles and turned that place into a pilgrimage point, which has the inhabitants of the neighborhood very worried, because the faithful arrived en masse.’
He added that people were not wearing any protective gear such as masks and gloves, and were not socially distancing.
Video from the scene shows dozens of people gathered in front of the tree, looking up at an image which appears similar to a crucified image of Christ.
Local shopkeeper Agustina Diaz told reporters: ‘It can clearly be seen, and everybody is praying and asking for Earth to be cured of this evil and for Magangue to be protected’.
Police were eventually called and broke up the gathering, and the crowds have not returned since.
People wearing no masks or protective equipment huddled together to pray for protection from the virus until police arrived to break up the gathering
An image of the same tree the following day shows how the figure appeared in bright daylight
Colombia declared a nationwide lockdown starting at midnight on March 24 to prevent the spread of the virus.
It followed a period curfew that was marked by protests, store lootings and riots as people panic-bought supplies.
The lockdown was initially due to last 19 days, ending after midnight on April 13, but has now been extended until at least April 27.
Under the rules of the quarantine, one person per family is allowed out to shop for essential items or carry out financial transactions.
Masks are required in stores, banks and on public transport, and restaurants are only allowed to provide deliveries.
Until the end of May, schools are suspended and the elderly are required to stay in their homes.
Like many places around the world where informal labor is common, the quarantine has created deep hardship for some Colombians and for many Venezuelan migrants.
Colombia has so far reported 1,579 cases of coronavirus and 46 deaths.