A provincial governor ordered seven churches in the province of Béjaïa to close recently, but Christian leaders do not intend to comply. On May 22, 2011, the Béjaïa police commissioner sent an official letter to the head of the Algerian Protestant Church Association (EPA), stating that all churches in his province and around the country should be closed immediately. The notice cited a May 8 decision from the governor of Béjaïa province.
The police commissioner wrote, “Close down all the worship places around the country once for all, the places which are used now and the places which are under construction.” According to the notice, if the churches do not comply, they may face “severe consequences and punishments.”
After delivering the notice, police summoned the leaders of seven churches in Béjaïa to sign a document accepting the order. But the leaders did not comply, citing the regional governor’s limited authority. They will continue to hold regular church services as scheduled.