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Three men stabbed during marian pilgrimage in England

Three men were hospitalised with stab wounds after a fight broke out during a major pilgrimage to England's national shrine to Our Lady.

Catholic World News reports the incident at Wells-next-the-Sea, next to Walsingham, involved about 30 members of a 5000-strong group of Sri Lankan Tamils making their annual pilgrimage to the shrines known as England's Nazareth.

A Norfolk police spokesman told the BBC that five people were injured in the fight which happened on Sunday in the north Norfolk fishing village. One man received stab wounds to his chest, one to his hand, and a third to his head. They were taken to the hospital where one was said to be in a life-threatening condition.

A police spokesman said, "Following the alleged stabbings, the area was sealed off and people and vehicles stopped and searched. Leaders of the Tamil people were kept fully informed and were sympathetic to the police actions taken." He stressed that the vast majority of the pilgrims had been law abiding and the event had gone smoothly in all other respects.

The tiny village of Walsingham has been a place of pilgrimage since 1061.