Police in Berlin broke up a church service of around 170 people over the weekend for violating Germany’s Chinese coronavirus lockdown rules.
The group of 170 people, which included children, gathered at a church in the area of Gesundbrunnen on Sunday evening after the pastor had called for a “small service” on Facebook.
Police were tipped off to the Pentecostal church gathering and officers deployed to the area at around 7:45 pm, German tabloid Bild reports.
“None of those present wore a mouth-nose cover. There was no attendance list or hygiene plan,” a police spokeswoman told the newspaper. Police gave citations to least 100 participants for violating the government’s Infection Protection Act.
French Catholics Gather to Protest Church Closures Under Lockdown https://t.co/fOM699igck
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Father Bismarck Mpieri, the church’s pastor who came from Nigeria 20 years ago, said he did not mind the police presence and that he was surprised how many people came to the church that evening.
“There should only have been a manageable number of participants,” he said and added: “But some churches are not offering services at the moment. Many believers are very lonely at this time.”
“At the next divine service, I will be stricter in terms of the number of participants and better control the doors,” he said.
Church services under coronavirus lockdown rules have been an issue of contention between churches and governments in several countries in recent months.
In France, members of the Roman Catholic church held protests outside churches against the lockdowns in November, citing religious freedom. Clergy in the city of Lille openly defied the government lockdown requirements just weeks later.
Archbishop of Lille, Laurent Ulrich, called the previous restrictions, which stated there could be no more than 30 parishioners in churches at any one time, “arbitrary, discriminatory and unrealistic” and told his priests to welcome all believers.
Following the protests, the French Council of State ordered the government to examine the restrictions which it called “disproportionate”.
The Greek Orthodox church similarly rebelled against lockdown restrictions earlier this month with the Holy Synod of the Greek church telling priests to ignore the government order.
Greek Church Rebels and Rejects Government Lockdown Measures https://t.co/fZsW8VJceQ
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