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Canadian pastor arrested for 'organizing an illegal in-person gathering' at his church

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 5/9/2021 Lawrence Richard
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The Canadian pastor who went viral last month after he stopped law enforcement officers from shutting down his Easter service was arrested.

Calgary pastor Artur Pawlowski, who leads Calgary’s Street Church in Alberta, and his brother, Dawid Pawlowski, were charged with "organizing an illegal in-person gathering" after they encouraged people to show up to church despite coronavirus restrictions.

Video of the arrest was uploaded online, showing several police officers carrying away the Pawlowski brothers as onlookers criticized the police.

"Shame on you guys, this is not Communist China. Don't you have family and kids? Whatever happened to 'Canada, God keep our land glorious and free'?" one individual is heard saying off-camera.

"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 Calgary Police Service said in a statement after the arrests.

The brothers “have both been arrested and charged with organizing an illegal in-person gathering, including requesting, inciting or inviting others to attend an illegal public gathering, promoting and attending an illegal public gathering,” the statement continued.

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The government will continue to enforce restrictions, and citizens are discouraged from any further defiance, the police said.

"We continue to 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," it concluded.

Calgary police arrested the brothers on Saturday, just before the church was set to have a service, "in an effort to ensure that citizens attending the Saturday service were abiding by the current COVID-19 public health orders."

"The order was served prior to the church service, and CPS did not enter the church during the service," the law enforcement agency clarified. "The service organizer acknowledged the injunction, but chose to ignore requirements for social distancing, mask-wearing, and reduced capacity limits for attendees, and continued with the event."

The Calgary pastor went viral last month after chasing away law enforcement officers who showed up to the church, seeking to stop the service, without a warrant.

In the viral video, Artur Pawlowski scolded the uniformed officers for entering the premises without authorization and demanded they leave.

"Out of this property immediately until you come back with a warrant," he yelled. "I don't want to talk to you. I don't care what you have to say."

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"Get out of this property, Nazis," Pawlowski continued. "Gestapo is not allowed here."

The officers left, ultimately resulting in them acquiring the warrant and returning for the Saturday arrest.

Tags: Church, Churches, Crime, Coronavirus, Canada, Faith, Religion

Original Author: Lawrence Richard

Original Location: Canadian pastor arrested for 'organizing an illegal in-person gathering' at his church

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