Algeria (MNN) — The North African country of Algeria has formed a new government. However, many of the same people from the old government still hold positions of power.
Algeria continues to suffer an economic crisis, with high rates of unemployment and poverty. Mass protests in 2019 forced the previous president to step down.
But George Makeen of SAT-7 says Algerians want more. “They want more freedom and more democracy: real change. And they see that didn’t happen yet. This is why, every now and then, there are lots of demonstrations. People are still in the street. The movement is still very powerful. And (Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune) although he says, ‘I’m totally for democracy,’ he used the COVID-19 situation in a way to control people.”
COVID-19 and Algerian churches
COVID-19 closed down many Algerian churches as well, but Makeen says that’s not stopping Christians from making a difference in the country. “They already closed lots of churches and gave warning to other churches. The justification they are using is they are not following the rules or regulations of safety: (not enough exits, not enough fire extinguishers, all this stuff). And then when you ask to apply for regulations, they give you a hard time.”
But Algerian Christians remain encouraged by the good news of Jesus. Makeen says, “They are saying, ‘Even if they close the physical place, they cannot take the church out of our hearts.’” SAT-7 broadcasts weekly church services for Algerian Christians who have no building to gather in.
The header photo shows protests in Algeria in 2019. (Photo courtesy of Fethi Hamlati, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)