By Carlotta Gall

ALGIERS — They have a reputation for smashing everything in their wake. Their nickname is the Chnawa, literally “the Chinese,” a politically incorrect reference not only to their large numbers but also to their reputation as an unstoppable horde.

They are the fans of Mouloudia Algiers, the doyen of soccer in Algeria and the beating heart of the nation. Even though the club does not always win the national championship, Mouloudia is by far the most popular team in the country and the one that politicians, and the government, want on their side.

Thousands of Mouloudia fans rocked a city stadium for a local match on a recent weekend, jumping and chanting in unison to African drum beats for hours before kickoff and throughout the game. [Read more…]