Church threatened with demolition in Algeria in wave of persecution
Algerian security forces are threatening to demolish a church despite the new building being given the stamp of approval by a court.
Boudjima Church in Tizi Ouzou finally opened on 11 January after a court ruled against the governor of the city, who wanted to stop its construction.
On 28 April the city’s head of security and heavily-armed police officers and gendarmes, threatened to close and demolish the building and ordered families occupying it to leave. The church has suffered continual harassment from the local authorities since 2017.
A climate of increasing pressure on Christians has been developing in Algeria in 2019. In another incident, a pastor was charged with building an illegal wall around his church building in Makouda, a town north of Tizi Ouzou.
In the western port city of Oran, a Christian bookshop owner was refused permission to reopen his shop despite being found innocent of any wrongdoing.
Another Christian is due to appear in court on 16 May accused of allowing worshippers to meet in his building in the town of Ighram without official authorisation to allow a church gathering.
There is growing concern over the attempts of Islamist extremists to fill the political vacuum left by the departure of 82-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Bouteflika resigned after 20 years in power when the military pressured him to go following weeks of street protests.
A 90-day caretaker president, Abdelkader Bensalah, was put in place until elections are held. In ongoing protests, Bensalah is also being called to resign. He is not permitted constitutionally to stand in the forthcoming election now set for 4 July.