Outraged Bolivians protest over Virgin painted in lingerie

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Outraged Bolivians protest over Virgin painted in lingerie
A woman holds an image of Our Lady of Socavon, in a procession honoring their patron saint, in Oruro, Bolivia, Thursday, March 1, 2018. Hundreds, including Oruro's archbishop, governor and mayor, marched in protest of a Bolivian artist and her painting that depicts the religious icon wearing red lingerie and transparent stockings. The governor gave state workers the day off in order to participate in the demonstration. (AP Photo/Juan Karita)

LA PAZ, Argentina (AP) — A group of Bolivians has staged a pilgrimage to protest an artist’s rendition of their patron saint wearing red underwear and black stockings.

Artist Rilda Paco has faced criticism and death threats over her painting of the Virgin of Socavon in the mostly Roman Catholic country.

The protesting faithful dropped to their knees Thursday before a huge statue of the Virgin in the city of Oruro, about 120 miles (190 kilometers) south of La Paz.

As the faithful sang and prayed, the sun broke out on a rainy day. Oruro Archbishop Cristobal Bialasic that said was “a sign of purification before such a serious offense.”

The statue is nearly 150 feet (45 meters) high — a shade less than New York’s Statue of Liberty.