A Canadian street preacher noted for defying state COVID orders was arrested by heavily armed police on Saturday for holding a church service attended by dozens of unmasked worshippers who also were not socially distanced.
The Rev. Artur Pawlowski was taken into custody along with his brother, Dawid Pawlowski on Saturday afternoon, according to the Calgary Herald.
Video posted online shows the reverend on his knees in the middle of a rain-soaked street with vehicles passing by slowly as a pair of officers handcuff him and then drag him to a waiting patrol vehicle after he refuses to stand and walk.
A heavily-armed SWAT team just took down a Christian pastor heading home from church. Police say he’s charged with “inciting” people to go to church. This is the second pastor jailed this year. We’re crowdfunding his lawyers at https://t.co/bMwAj1iNfP pic.twitter.com/RZ913cQns3
— Ezra Levant 🍁 (@ezralevant) May 8, 2021
Both men were charged with staging an illegal public gathering, according to Calgary police, while also “requesting, inciting or inviting others” to join in with them, the department said in a statement.
A separate video posted online hours earlier appears to show Calgary police being forced to leave by supporters of Pawlowski at what appears to be the church service in question. The user predicted that police would return later in greater numbers.
— Adam Soos ⳩ (@ATSoos) May 8, 2021
The department noted further in its statement that civil rights aside, the COVID-19 pandemic’s restrictions take precedent.
“It is important to understand that law enforcement recognizes people’s desire to participate in faith-based gatherings as well as the right to protest. However, as we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, we all must comply with public health orders in order to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing,” the department added.
The Calgary Herald added that a Court of Queen’s Bench Order was obtained on Thursday by Alberta Health Services after additional restrictions were previously levied on Canadians who organize protests and demonstrations, requiring them to follow all coronavirus restrictions such as the wearing of masks and socially distancing.
“Law enforcement agencies can act immediately under this injunction, without the necessity of Alberta Health Services attendance,” the Alberta Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement Friday following the issuance of the bench order.
“There are a variety of ways to enforce this order, including the ability to issue tickets, fines and criminal charges to individuals who are breaking public health orders by organizing and/or attending these events. This can include arrest and removal any person who has notice of this Order and chooses to act in violation of it,” the RCMP statement continued, according to the Calgary Herald.
Calgary police called the order a “significant development” Friday.
“In the event of non-compliance, the Order provides enforcement powers, including powers of arrest, for those that are organizing, promoting and attending any public gathering where public health orders are not being followed,” the department’s statement continued.
“We ask those who may be considering organizing or participating in any outdoor events to ensure they are familiar with public health order requirements and to do their part to prevent further spread of the virus,” the department added.
Last month Pawlowski, who had already been fined repeated by authorities for COVID violations, was hailed as an “absolute legend” after he ejected an Alberta Health Services official accompanied by several police officers from a Passover service.
The arrest of Pawlowski and his physical removal from the church service follows an escalating pattern of aggressive COVID-19 rule enforcement by Canadian police. During a segment of his weekday evening show a few weeks after Pawlowski’s Passover encounter, The First TV’s Jesse Kelly warned about rising left-wing tyranny in Western democracies under the rubric of coronavirus, citing overly aggressive police actions in Canada.
“Have you been watching this stuff in Canada, with what they’re doing with the coronavirus lockdowns?” he said ahead of showing a disturbing video clip of Canadian officers repeatedly striking an elderly man and destroying a portion of his porch railing in an apparent attempt to arrest him for an unknown COVID violation.
“Do you understand what’s taking place up north?” Kelly asked. “I want you to understand this. Like, ten minutes ago, Canada was your standard Democrat buddy. That’s all they were. ‘Ah, he’s not that bad! He’s not one of these radicals! He’s left, I realize that, but he’s not that bad. It’s fine.’
“And now they’re pummeling 85-year-old men and raiding churches,” he continued. “You think it’s going to stay in Canada? That stuff is coming here. It is coming here.”
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