Canadian pastor who kicked ‘Gestapo cops’ out of his church arrested for organizing an ‘illegal gathering’
A pastor who became an internet sensation after chasing Canadian authorities out of his church has been detained for violating Covid-19 restrictions. Footage of the dramatic arrest was posted on his YouTube channel.
Pastor Artur Pawlowski, of Calgary, Alberta, made headlines last month after he berated police for trying to shut down an Easter service that violated limitations on public gatherings. In a viral video of the confrontation, Pawlowski is heard shouting at the “Nazi” and “Gestapo” officers to leave “immediately,” telling them not to return without a warrant.
Although the police retreated, it appears authorities were determined to stop the pastor from holding services. Earlier this week, Alberta Health Services obtained a court order which allows law enforcement to issue fines and even make arrests in order to enforce public health guidelines. The order also applies to organizers of demonstrations.
Calgary police then served Pawlowski with the order. The force said the pastor acknowledged the injunction but nonetheless ignored “requirements for social distancing, mask wearing and reduced capacity limits for attendees” and continued to hold religious gatherings.
On Saturday, a car carrying Pawlowski and his brother, Dawid, was pulled over by police. The incident was filmed by the vehicle’s driver.
After the driver rolls down the window, an officer explains that Artur and Dawid were under arrest for violating the injunction, and asks the two brothers to step out of the car.
Artur, who is sitting in the front passenger’s seat, complies. Moments later, he is seen kneeling on the road with his hands placed behind his head. The pastor then begins to yell at the “Gestapo psychopaths” and “Nazis” as he is arrested.
“Do it the Nazi style!” he shouts at two officers as they cuff him. The cops then drag the pastor to a police cruiser.Also on rt.com ‘Gestapo out!’ WATCH Canadian cops chased out by enraged pastor after reportedly trying to stop Passover prayer
His brother is also seen kneeling on the highway as three officers carry him to one of their vehicles.
The operation involved at least five police cars, and what appears to be about a dozen officers.
The two brothers were charged with organizing and attending an illegal in-person gathering, the CBC reported.
The arrests have already led to a campaign to raise funds for their legal defense, organized by conservative Canadian outlet Rebel News.
"If you are watching this video, it means that they have successfully arrested me." We are crowdfunding pastor Artur Pawlowski's legal defence please go to https://t.co/5RfUUBxoVx to donate! pic.twitter.com/1UAwXQLVy9— Rebel News (@RebelNewsOnline) May 8, 2021
“Arresting Christians for holding church services is what police states do, not liberal democracies. This has to stop,” the news site wrote.
In a statement, the Calgary Police Service said that it recognizes “people's desire to participate in faith-based gatherings as well as the right to protest” but that residents must comply with public health orders in order to “ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing.”
Alberta recently imposed tougher Covid-19 restrictions amid a surge in cases. Under the new guidelines, attendance at places of worship has been capped at 15 people. Schools have been moved online and residents have been urged to limit the size of personal gatherings.
The Canadian province has 25,000 active coronavirus cases, and its active case rate of 534 per 100,000 has been described as the highest in North America.
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