Cops turn up at church AGAIN just two days after officers shut down Good Friday service and threaten £200 fines
POLICE arrived at a church again today after officers shut down a Good Friday service and threatened to fine worshippers £200.
Parishoners at Christ the King Church, in Balham, South London, have accused police of "brutally exceeding their powers" after cops marched up to the lectern to tell worshippers to head home at Friday's mass.
One officer told the Polish Catholic church congregation that the Good Friday service was "unlawful", with footage of the incident sparking outrage.
A priest today told spoke of his "shock" after officers took the "drastic" step of trying to break up Friday's Mass.
Father Aleksander, who was holding the 6pm Good Friday service, said officers came to Christ the King Church again on Easter Sunday morning.
But unlike on Friday, officers weren't objecting to the mass going on at the time.
Cops asked church stewards if they had any CCTV after a protest poster accusing the Catholic Church of abusing women was plastered on a nearby building overnight.
Father Aleksander told Sun Online: "They came to the Church, but they haven't any objections against our celebrations.
"They were enquiring about a picture put on the wall in the night.
"They were enquiring who could do that. They just wanted to see if our webcam [showed] who it was…doing that in the night."
Current guidelines allow worship in churches to go ahead, with proper safety reviews ahead of events and social distancing in place.
Officers said not all worshippers weren't wearing masks or properly social distancing inside the venue.
Father Aleksander added: "Naturally, we were all shocked. Before they came in he [the police officer] told us our congregation is unlawful because of lockdown rules.
"According to him, the celebration was unlawful because all celebrations should be closed for public worship.
"We tried to explain to him that it was not this point. The rules allowed the public celebration and we had arranged, how we could, our celebration, with tickets, and masks.
"He told me if we don't end this celebration immediately all the people will be fined.
He told me if we don't end this celebration immediately all the people will be fined. I told him, if he wants he can explain himself to the congregation as we don't understand the point of his decision, which was so drastic
"I told him, if he wants he can explain himself to the congregation as we don't understand the point of his decision, which was so drastic."
The Government says services should be short, with people keeping two metres apart and wearing masks – avoiding mingling with other households.
The Catholic priest said he asked the officer if he could have ten minutes to end the Mass gradually, but the cop told him no.
Father Aleksander added: "The police release said there were crowds of people outside the church.
"Not exactly, as there were maybe five or ten minutes because one service ended and the new one should start.
"So maybe some people went outside and the others were ready to come in.
"We couldn't understand why the policeman told us we can't have acongregation if the guidelines of the government told exactly the opposite.
"We didn't expect something like that could happen.
"I asked the policeman if he could give us 10 minutes and we will end the celebration gradually just giving people blessing and communion…without provoking this drastic reaction.
"They were not agreeing and they said if we don't end immediately they will start fining the people."
Outraged parishoners attending Easter Sunday services at the church today slammed the Met.
Merek Mendel, chairman of the church, branded the police action "disgusting".
Tomsz Niewiadomski, 39, told Mailonline: "Its not right what they did. The police didn't seem to know the rules.
"I was standing just inside the door at the back. They came in and said everyone was breaking the law before checking what was in place. They said no one was social distancing and it was unsafe.
"But everyone was wearing masks and sitting apart from each other. There was a booking system so there was only a certain number of people inside.
"We know we have to respect the law. It seemed like the police did not know what we could and couldn't do."
Lukaz Kaczmarak, 17, said: "The police were here again today, but I wonder if they were here to try and catch us out.
"They are scared they made a mistake so now want to prove that we are breaking the rules in whatever way they can find, so came back to check up on us."
Asked about the police's actions on Friday he added: "We were all very surprised and upset.
"Everyone had masks on, everything was disinfected. The priest is always telling us to wear masks and keep our distance."
A police spokesman tweeted today: "After police were called to a church in Balham on Friday, we are pleased that Easter events could continue at this church as planned throughout Saturday and on Sunday."
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