U.K. police shut down Good Friday service, threaten attendees with fines, arrest

by Jeffrey Swindoll · Apr 4th, 2021 10:19 am

Last Updated Apr 5th, 2021 at 11:00 am

British police shut down a "Good Friday" service at Christ the King Polish church in south London, calling the gathering "unlawful under the coronavirus regulations."

"At this moment in time you need to go home," said one of the officers told parishioners. "Failure to comply with this direction to leave and go to your home address, ultimately could lead you to be fined £200 or, if you fail to give your details, to you being arrested.

No parishioners were fined or arrested.

"Officers attended and found a large number of people inside the church. Some people were not wearing masks and those present were clearly not socially distanced," the police said in a statement. "As such, officers made the decision that it was not safe for that particular service to continue."

The church said the officers "brutally exceeded their powers by issuing their warrant for no good reason" because "all government requirements were met." The church also said the government guidelines in the U.K. "clearly allow -- with all sanitary rules -- to be celebrated in places of worship with the participation of the faithful."

The U.K.'s guidelines for "[c]elebrating religious festivals at your place of worship" state that "[c]communal worship or prayer can be attended by as many people as the place of worship can safely accommodate, in a way which complies with COVID-19 secure guidance and the law," such as wearing a mask and adhering to social distancing.


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