Authorities from Algerian government have forced congregations out of their respective churches over the protest against crackdown on places of worship in the country.
Two biggest congregations’ churches in North Africa and one other were shut down this week. About eight churches have been shut down so far this year according Christian solidarity Worldwide (CSW); a U.K. based non-governmental organization that monitors persecution.
Members of Full Gospel were raided by National Guard during prayer and worship meeting on Tuesday prior to the notification of sealing the church by government on Wednesday.
According to Morning Star News (MSN) reported, the crowd at the Church of the Full Gospel panicked as they were ordered to leave. Some refused and were forcibly dragged out. When leaders—including pastor Salah Chalah, head the Protestant churches in Algeria (L’Église Protestante d’Algérie), and pastor Tarek Berki—tried to intervene, they were beaten.
The second-largest congregation, the 500-member Source of Life Church in Makouda, was shut down the same day, followed by 100-member Light Church (L’eglise Tafat) in Tizi Ouzou, Christian Post reported.
At least 15 Protestant churches—out of only about 46 in the country—have been shuttered since January 2018, according to the Christian advocacy group Middle East Concern. The country, home to just 125,000 Christians, fewer than 1 percent of the population, ranks 22nd on Open Doors’ World Watch List.