- Title: Bethlehem's Manger Square almost empty on Christmas Eve
- Date: 24th December 2020
- Summary: BETHLEHEM, WEST BANK (DECEMBER 24, 2020) (REUTERS) CHRISTMAS TREE AT MANAGER SQUARE, VIEW OF NATIVITY CHURCH'S TOWER VARIOUS OF NEAR EMPTY MANGER SQUARE CHURCH TOWER, CHRISTMAS TREE NEAR EMPTY MANGER SQUARE STAR ON CHRISTMAS TREE, VIEW OF CROSS PEOPLE IN SQUARE MANGER SQUARE CHURCH TOWER AND CHRISTMAS TREE VARIOUS OF PEOPLE IN SQUARE
- Embargoed: 7th January 2021 17:10
- Keywords: Bethlehem COVID-19 Christmas Eve Coronavirus Manger Square
- Location: BETHLEHEM WEST BANK
- City: BETHLEHEM WEST BANK
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Middle East,Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001DAD8Z0N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Manger Square appeared almost empty on Thursday evening (December 24) when Bethlehem, revered as Jesus' birthplace, kicked off Christmas celebrations amid COVID-19 rules and fears.
Just 12 months ago, the Palestinian town was celebrating its busiest festive season for two decades, amid a sustained drop in violence and a corresponding surge in the number of pilgrims and tourists.
But now, hotels that were adding new wings in 2019 are shuttered and Christmas and festivities will be held online due to the coronavirus restrictions imposed by the Palestinian Authority.
The newly-appointed Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who himself contracted the virus and recovered, will lead this year's reduced celebrations, but 85-year-old Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will be absent from the annual Midnight Mass at the Nativity Church, a Palestinian official said.
(Production: Mohammad abu Ganeyeh, Suheir Sheikh)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None