Canadian Pastor Arthur Pawlowski, whose first run-in with Alberta law enforcement in 2020 went viral, has been arrested again and accused of breaching probation and disobeying local health orders.
Last year, Polish-born Pawlowski filmed himself kicking a group of health inspectors and police officers out of his congregation, deriding them as “fascists” and “Nazis” for trying to enforce Alberta’s COVID-19 restrictions.
He was later arrested for holding in-person services and has since been arrested on multiple occasions related to that charge.
On Saturday, he and his brother Dawid were arrested following a protest outside Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping’s home.
Police confirmed to The Calgary Herald that two people had been arrested for failing to abide by court-ordered compliance with Alberta health codes, and the Pawlowski brothers’ attorney confirmed to the newspaper that her clients had been charged with criminal contempt of a court order.
Pawlowski explained in a call from jail that he had been called to attend the protest to pray and keep things calm and peaceful, which he described as successful.
“When we went into the car, we noticed that there’s lots of police cars that have blocked the roads and they started to pretend that they are doing a check stop,” he said. “A helicopter was flying during the rally, the peaceful vigil, so we knew that the police is monitoring and that the police is observing. … The whole thing is very peaceful, that there is absolutely nothing to worry about.”
“When we were attempting to drive home, the check stop was started, and they blocked the whole street and started to stop every car.”
“We were let go, and just five minutes later, a number of police vehicles stopped my brother in the middle of the highway, and they said that we are being arrested,” he explained. “I was handcuffed, arrested for breach, for mischief and for obstruction for whatever reason.”
In the video of Pawlowski’s arrest, he can be heard telling the police officers they are “Nazis” and “Gestapo.”
The police tell him to stop resisting, but it becomes clear he is peacefully resisting by simply laying down, forcing the officers to pick him up and carry him away.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney applauded the arrest, deriding Pawlowski of a “conspiracy theorist” and extremist.
“All Albertans have a right to protest peacefully. That right does not extend to trespassing at private homes and harassing the families of public officials,” he said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, this is not the first time that fringe anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists have tried to intimidate government officials in this manner,” he continued, a reference to a Canada Day incident in which Copping’s predecessor, Tyler Shandro, was heckled by protesters in public.
“I am sure that the vast majority of Albertans reject this kind of extremism,” the statement added.
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