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Canadian police escorted worshippers out of a Vancouver church on Sunday, after flag-waving pro-China protesters surrounded the building while the Christians attended a prayer meeting for Hong Kong. The protesters’ actions were described by an organiser of the prayers as “intimidation” and “bullying”. Chris Chiu said the incident at the Tenth Church, on a leafy street in the city’s Westside area, had left him shaken and fearing for the worshippers’ safety.
The prayer meeting at the small evangelical church began at 3.15pm. Some of the worshippers, including Chiu, arrived from an earlier rally at the Chinese consulate in support of Hong Kong’s protest movement.
Worshippers - Church - Building - Group - Chiu
But when the 80 or so worshippers tried to leave the church at about 4.15pm they found the building surrounded by the pro-China group. Chiu said there were more than 100 protesters.
Chiu, in an interview at the church about an hour afterwards, said that about 20 police officers were already there. Photos on social media show officers from the Vancouver Police Department’s public safety unit filming proceedings, standing guard at the door and speaking to protesters.
Chiu - Prayers - Event - Facebook
Chiu said the prayers had been advertised as a public event on Facebook.
“There were VPD [Vancouver Police Department] outside warding off people from the area, there were people waving Chinese flags,” Chiu said. “They were obviously here trying to intimidate us.”
Anyone - Police - Officers - Group - Counter-protest
He said he was unaware of anyone having called police and he suspected officers had followed the pro-China group from a counter-protest at the consulate. But he said he was grateful they were there.
“We would have felt unsafe to just walk out of the door,” he said, adding that police escorted worshippers through the group. “I did not dare to walk outside when these people were surrounding us.”
Vancouver - Police - Department
The Vancouver Police Department did not immediately...
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