In recent weeks, the Protestant Church of Algeria (EPA) has recorded a series of closures of its places of worship in Algeria, especially in Kabylia. The authorities have closed five establishments serving as places of worship for the Protestants of Algeria in the wilayas of Béjaïa and Tizi-Ouzou.
More precisely, three churches were shut down at Ath Mellikeche, Ighram and Colonel Amirouche village (former Riquet), Bejaia and Makouda and Boudjima, Tizi-Ouzou. The authorities also tried to close a church in Ighzer Amokrane but the worshippers prevented the elements of the gendarmerie from doing so.
Contacted by the Algiers Herald, Mouloud Moulai, a member of the council of the Protestant Church of Boudjima, affirmed that the faithful are now determined to occupy all the places of worship targeted by a closure order in order to prevent this kind of discrimination which, in his view, is unjustified. Thus they mobilized against the closure of the church of Ighzer Amokrane and they intend to do so against the closure of that of Akbou. Mouloud Moulai also claims that the excuse of ‘operating without a license‘ advanced by the authorities is misleading because, according to him, the administration has been trying for several months to put the Protestant Church of Algeria in difficulty by demanding a number of documents, some of which impossible to obtain.
For his part, Mourad Fettous, a Christian from the region of Bejaia, says that this series of closures is another diversion attempt by the Algerian regime. According to him, the regime, after having tried and failed to divide the democratic revolution through the arbitrary imprisonment of Berber demonstrators, it is now playing the religious card by attacking the Christian minority.