Supporters gather outside GraceLife Church near Edmonton, Alta., on Sunday, April 11, 2021. The church has been fenced off by police and Alberta Health Services in violation of COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Supporters gather outside GraceLife Church near Edmonton, Alta., on Sunday, April 11, 2021. The church has been fenced off by police and Alberta Health Services in violation of COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Hundreds gather to support Alberta church shut down for ignoring COVID-19 orders

GraceLife Church and its pastor, are charged for holding services that break health restrictions

Hundreds of people are gathered outside an Alberta church charged with refusing to follow COVID-19 health rules.

On the first Sunday since GraceLife Church was shut down and fenced off by Alberta Health Services, an estimated 500 people gathered outside to oppose COVID-19 regulations and show support.

GraceLife Church and its pastor, James Coates, are charged under the Public Health Act for holding services that break health restrictions related to capacity, physical distancing and masking.

Alberta’s health agency said in a statement when it shut down the church on Wednesday that the church will remain closed until it shows it will comply with public health measures meant to contain the spread of the virus.

Dozens of police officers monitored the large crowd as they sang hymns and prayed for the church to reopen.

Some supporters shouted at police, saying officers should be ashamed of themselves for the closure.

RCMP said in a statement they will only use the level of intervention necessary to maintain peace, order and safety.

The Canadian Press

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