The attacks on religious and religious freedom under the guise of the pandemic have already caused an international incident in recent hours.
The Metropolitan Police threatened parishioners with fines and arrests
Yesterday the Polish Parish of Christ the King of London, located in the Bahlam neighborhood and offering ceremonies in their language for the Polish minority in the British capital, celebrated the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion like many other Catholic temples around the world with motive of Good Friday. The difference is that around 6:00 p.m., when the liturgy was about to end, two agents of the London Metropolitan Police entered the temple to announce that this meeting was “unlawful” and to threaten fines of 200 pounds and even the arrest of each of the parishioners if they did not evict immediately. They did not allow to finish the religious ceremony.
The parishioners did not leave the temple until the officiating priest directed them to do so.
The events were recorded on video, since the liturgy was being broadcast live on the Youtube channel of Misja 52. You can see the arrival of the Police at 1:01:51 of the video (I have already configured the insert so start at that point):
In the video you can hear the protests of some of the Polish parishioners after the police statement. It should be noted that after the announcement made by one of the agents, in English, the parishioners remained in their places until the officiating priest gave them the indication to leave the temple.
Polish parish encourages parishioners to file complaints
The Polish parish in London published yesterday a statement on its website in which it denounced: “we believe that the police brutally exceeded their powers by issuing their order without good reason, since all the requirements of the government were met. We believe that municipal police officials have been misinformed about the current guidelines for places of worship, saying that the reason for their intervention is the continued ban on public celebration in places of worship in London due to the closure of 4 January 2021.”
The statement adds: “We regret that the rights of the faithful have been violated on such an important Day for all believers and that our worship has been desecrated. We informed the superiors of the Polish Catholic Mission in England and Wales about this incident. We ask the police authorities to explain the incident and we are awaiting their response.” In addition, the parish has put a link to the London Metropolitan Police website encouraging parishioners to file complaints for the interruption of worship.
The Polish parish states: “The latest guidelines from the Government of March 26, 2021 and the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales on the experience of Holy Week, clearly allow – with all sanitary regulations – to be celebrated in places of worship with the participation of the faithful. All the scheduled rites of Easter Dedication, Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday will be carried out in the order indicated. We ask everyone to observe the health requirements in force in the Church and in the space of social life, and to pray that such situations are not repeated.”
The officers sent to that church are under the orders of a Muslim mayor
These events have caused great outrage both in the Polish community in the UK and in Poland itself. Some Internet users consider what happened as an outrage against religious freedom and the Polish community itself in the United Kingdom. In addition, messages have also been read on Twitter asking if the Metropolitan Police would dare to do something like this with an Islamic celebration. It must be remembered that this police force is under the orders of the mayor of London, who is the Muslim Sadiq Khan, a fact that some Internet users have also recalled.
A Scottish court has already exposed abuses against freedom of worship
It so happens that just a few days ago a Scottish court declared the restrictions on freedom of worship imposed in that territory of the United Kingdom illegal, noting that the Scottish Government abused its special powers by imposing the total closure of all places cult. This judicial decision has exposed the abuses against fundamental rights that are being carried out with the excuse of the pandemic.
Some facts about the Polish community in the UK
In Great Britain there is a large Polish community, made up of 810,000 people, many of them descendants of the 150,000 Polish soldiers who remained in that country after fighting alongside the Allies in World War II. Some of those fighters fought as airmen in the Battle of Britain in 1940, defending British soil from German bombardments. Despite their dedication and sacrifices, Polish soldiers were not allowed to march in the 1946 Victory Parade due to pressure from Stalin. An exception was made only for Polish RAF pilots, but they refused in solidarity with their compatriots.
The Polish Government in Exile, the legitimate representative of the Government of the Second Polish Republic that was invaded by Germany and the USSR in 1939, maintained its headquarters in London until its dissolution in 1990. The Polish community in the United Kingdom, which today includes the The largest group of foreigners residing in the country, it continues to preserve its native language and its Catholic religion as the hallmarks that link it to its roots.
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