Alanna Smith Publishing date: May 08, 2021 • 14 hours ago
Calgary police have arrested street preacher Artur Pawlowski after he failed to abide by public health orders again during a Saturday church service during which dozens were congregating without masks, with no regard for physical distancing.
His brother, Dawid Pawlowski, was also taken into custody.
Both have been charged with organizing an illegal in-person gathering, in addition to “requesting, inciting or inviting others” to join them, said the Calgary Police Service in a statement.
“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 police service said.
Alberta Health Services obtained a Court of Queen’s Bench Order on Thursday, which imposed additional restrictions on organizers of protests or demonstrations requiring compliance with COVID-19 safety measures, such as masking and attendance limits.
“Law enforcement agencies can act immediately under this injunction, without the necessity of Alberta Health Services attendance,” Alberta RCMP said in a statement issued Friday in response to the injunction. “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 Calgary police said in a statement on Friday evening the court order was “a significant development.” (Click Here)
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“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 statement said.
“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 statement continued.
Police said they served “an organizer” of Street Church with the court order prior to the weekend service without entering the establishment, located at 4315 26th Ave. S.E.
“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,” said the force, which resulted in the arrests.
SECOND PROTEST IN CENTRAL ALBERTA
Despite pouring rain and a pre-emptive court injunction, hundreds gathered outside the Whistle Stop Cafe in the hamlet of Mirror, Alta., for the “Save Alberta Campout Protest.”
Demonstrators were there to support cafe owner Chris Scott and challenge Public Health Orders meant to curb the spread of COVID-19.
A spokesman for the RCMP said officers took the first three hours of the protest to educate demonstrators on COVID-19 regulations and notify them that they were contravening the injunction.
“There was a decision at one point to start mounting enforcement,” said Cpl. Troy Savinkoff. “That was around 4 p.m.”
Later Saturday, Alberta RCMP confirmed Scott.
On Wednesday, AHS said it closed the cafe after the agency received more than 400 complaints about the business since January. Health authorities said the cafe is to remain closed until Scott can demonstrate the ability to comply with health restrictions.
Alberta Health Services said after hearing about plans for the protest that the provincial government would take legal action that would allow RCMP officers to use reasonable force in arresting and removing any person at the rally who contravenes public health orders.
But that didn’t stop people without masks from standing together to cheer and clap when Scott stood on a stage and encouraged them to fight for their freedom.
“I’ve been accused of a lot of things over this. They think it’s about money. They think it’s about popularity. I could care less about that,” Scott told the crowd.
“I’m not fine with anyone telling me what to do with my body or how to earn an income.”
Scott then asked the crowd to follow COVID-19 regulations at the rally due to the injunction.
Three hours later, RCMP officers with body cameras began handing out tickets under the Public Health Act to those leaving the area for participating in the illegal gathering.
At press time, the event had not dispersed and police had yet to provide an update on how many people were ticketed Saturday. (Click to Source)
With fIles from Joe Roe and The Canadian Press
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