Calgary police have arrested two organizers of a church service who have been defying public health restrictions for months and charged them with organizing an illegal in-person gathering.
Artur and Dawid Pawlowski were also charged with inciting or inviting others to attend an illegal public gathering, as well as promoting and attending the illegal public gathering.
Earlier this week, Alberta Health Services obtained a Court of Queen’s Bench Order that applied to gatherings such as protests, demonstrations and rallies.
AHS officials already took action using the order against the Whistle Stop Café in Mirror, Alta., physically closing the restaurant on Wednesday prior to a planned protest this weekend.
Calgary police said they proactively served the church organizers with the order to ensure citizens attending a service on Saturday were abiding by public health orders.
In a release, police said service organizers “acknowledged the injunction, but chose to ignore requirements for social distancing, mask wearing and reduced capacity limits for attendees” and continued the event.
Throughout the pandemic, the brothers have held large, maskless gatherings and have denied health officials entry to their church, which is located in the southeast neighbourhood of Dover.
AHS has said previously that attempts by health inspectors to enter the church have been met with abusive language and racial slurs.
On Saturday, video from the scene showed one of the church’s leaders scream at police, comparing the officers to Nazis.
Alberta currently has more than 24,000 active COVID-19 cases, and the highest rate of active cases in the country.
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