Pastor Artur Pawłowski, known for his decisive opposition to Covid-19 restrictions, was detained on a busy street and arrested by Calgary police alongside his brother Dawid. The police announced that his arrest was related to him holding a Saturday mass despite the lockdown in Canada, with the police charging him with “organizing an illegal meeting in person”, reported Christian news portal LifeSiteNews.
A day prior to the arrest, the pastor refused to back down from holding a mass even though authorities consider the community’s gatherings illegal. Pawłowski did not spare harsh words during the encounter while comparing police officers to “Nazis”. Alongside other faithful worshipers, he drove the police out of the church’s grounds. The pastor also took part in protests against government restrictions. In another incident that went viral, Pawlowski kicked officers out of his church.
The latest video recorded by an eyewitness shows how Pawłowski leaves his vehicle at the behest of a police officer and is handcuffed while kneeling. The pastor then refused to enter the police vehicle and compared the officers to the Gestapo and urged them to “do it the Nazi style”. The officers can then be seen dragging both the pastor and his brother across the ground and into the vehicle.
The person recording the video can also be heard shouting towards the police officers: “Shame on you guys, this is not communist China. Don’t you guys have families and kids? Whatever happened to Canada, God keep our land glorious and free. What’re you gonna do when they come for your kids? Shame on you guys, you call yourselves Canadians? Where is your oath? Where is your honor? Where is your dignity? You guys aren’t Canadian.”
The clip also shows the reaction of a pair of cyclists passing by who saw the whole incident and began to call the officers “damned Nazi cowards”.
Pastor Pawłowski’s lawyer pointed out that article 176 of the Canadian penal codex deems it a crime to interrupt mass and arrest priests during their return home from mass. The lawyer also noted that the ban on protests imposed by the court is not compatible with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
This is the second arrest of Pawłowski but not the only action from Canada to place restrictions on the freedom of religious gatherings. Not long ago, pastor James Coates spent a month in prison for holding masses despite the lockdown.