Edmonton Delight Nook organizer faces restraining orders by avenue preachers

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An organizer with Edmonton’s Delight Nook is going through her third restraining order in a single yr after conflicts with avenue preachers, efforts her lawyer calls a tactic to silence a 2SLGBTQ+ rights advocate.

Christian missionary Olga Podgornaja appeared in courtroom Monday to talk to her restraining order towards Claire Pearan filed Could 30. Podgornaja claims Pearan harassed her a number of occasions by waving flags, dancing to loud music, holding indicators, insulting her, and shaking her fingers and yelling near her face. Pearan has claimed the present order, Podgornaja’s earlier order, and one by one other particular person, are a part of a coordinated effort to cease her protests towards homophobic speech espoused by some native avenue preachers.

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The restraining order, mentioned briefly in an Edmonton courtroom on Monday, was filed simply 18 days after a choose dismissed Podgornaja’s earlier restraining order towards Pearan, discovering it was not an applicable use of this side of the authorized system. Reasonably, Justice Thomas Rothwell dominated this was a case of two opposite teams expressing their views forcefully, and Podgornaja was not prone to hurt.

Avnish Nanda, Pearan’s lawyer, informed the courtroom on Monday that Podgornaja’s software makes use of the identical proof from the earlier order which a choose has already dismissed, and mentioned about using restraining orders that “that is a part of a tactic.”

Podgornaja, who’s self-represented, interrupted Nanda to say it is a new motion as a result of Pearan “has not stopped harassing me.”

Justice Martha Burns mentioned she isn’t certain the file reads that manner, and if she didn’t like the opposite choose’s choice she was alleged to attraction it.

“When you begin utilizing this course of, not accepting the selections made by judges, then chances are you’ll be taking a look at prices,” she warned Podgornaja.

Burns put the case over to early July so Podgornaja can discover authorized illustration.

A choose lifted the primary restraining order in March, which was filed by Fawn Lamouche towards Pearan in October 2022. Lamouche had claimed Pearan “repeatedly obtained in my face,” posted a video of him on TikTok, and was stalking and intimidating him.

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Pearan claims Podgornaja and Lamouche have connections to the identical avenue preacher who espouses homophobic views, and that using these restraining orders is coordinated.

Nanda informed Postmedia it is a “good use of the authorized system to quiet speech of individuals that you simply disagree with, as a result of our courtroom system doesn’t anticipate individuals utilizing civil restraining orders on this method.”

Preachers and protesters

Exterior the courtroom, Pearan mentioned the orders have restricted her from protesting in the identical manner she has been for years to help LGBTQ individuals.

“It’s undoubtedly a silencing tactic to attempt to preserve us quiet for a time frame,” she mentioned.

Whereas Delight Nook units up on Whyte Avenue and 104 Avenue on Friday evenings, the group additionally has roving protests the place they dance, wave flags, and protest avenue preachers which might be recognized by group members as sharing hateful messages.

Pearan mentioned it’s vital to counter these messages due to how they affect, specifically, younger individuals.

“What we’re protesting is hate speech. What we’re protesting is when preachers are on the market saying our existence is a sin, that you’ll burn in hell for eternity for those who don’t develop into straight,” she mentioned. “I take into consideration how many individuals stroll by and listen to these messages and go and internalize that, and take into consideration how that affects them.

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“You may give 50 Bible quotes to me, however the second you inform a queer passerby that they’re going to hell due to the
ir existence you might be being hateful.”

Podgornaja denied she is sharing hate towards the 2SLGBTQ+ group and mentioned she simply preaches what the Bible says.

She introduced the restraining order once more, she mentioned, as a result of Pearan allegedly gained’t cease harassing her.

“Each time I am going Downtown Edmonton, she follows me,” she informed Postmedia. “She will view her religion nonetheless she desires, however don’t come within the place the place I’m already standing sharing my religion — I’m Christian.”

Podgornaja mentioned she doesn’t trouble individuals at Delight Nook, “however not all corners in Edmonton are (Delight) corners, so we are able to (share) our religion, and she or he can not harass me.”

Delight Nook briefly halted protests final yr after threats of violence towards protests.



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