Washington D.C. Sept 16th: On Saturday, downtown Washington, D.C., was home to three prominent demonstrations that some feared might combine violently but instead stayed largely separate and peaceful, with modest attendance.The self-described Mother of All Rallies, designed to support President Trump and “defend American culture,” was staged on the National Mall late Saturday morning. Around the same time and several blocks away, near the White House, was the Protect American Democracy rally, which organizers say was meant to tell the president to take a tougher stance against Russian interference in American elections.
The rally garnering the most attention was the Juggalo March, an assembly set near the Lincoln Memorial of so-called Juggalos. The fans of the horror-core rap duo Insane Clown Posse are often adorned in face paint, tattoos and other symbols similar to those of group. The march was described on its website as “a collective statement from the Juggalo Family to the world about what we are and what we are not.”
Insane Clown Posse was founded in 1989, and despite criticism of the group’s crude and sometimes violent lyrics, it developed a considerable and dedicated following of Juggalos. (The term derives from a 1992 Insane Clown Posse song, NPR’s Tanya Ballard Brown reported.)
In a 2011 report, the FBI classified Juggalos as a “loosely organized hybrid gang” following violent incidents allegedly committed by fans of group. Juggalos, in tandem with the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the government in 2014, claiming Juggalos’ “constitutional rights to expression and association were violated” by the FBI’s classification. The case was dismissed but then later reinstated.
The Juggalos say the gang label has, through unfair discrimination, made it difficult to live a normal life for many of their members, some of whom were scheduled to speak on Saturday as part of the effort to express their anger to the FBI.
As for politics, however, the “Insane Clown Posse and most Juggalos consider themselves very apolitical.
The crowds at all three events were reportedly enthusiastic but modest in size.
The pro-Trump Mother of All Rallies featured a float with signs saying “secure our borders” and “drain the swamp” and drew some prominent names from the so-called alt-right, including Jack Posobiec. The rally’s organizers wrote on their website that Confederate flags and racism would not be allowed, clearly hoping to distinguish their event from the march of white supremacists that turned deadly last month in Charlottesville, Va.
Nevertheless, some counterprotesters attempted to tie the MOAR rally to Charlottesville, including one who held a sign featuring an image of the woman killed by a motorist there.
Officials kept the protesters far from one another, which, along with a heavy police presence, appeared to keep the Saturday events peaceful.
The Juggalos are fans of Insane Clown Posse, a rap group that calls itself “the most hated band in the world.” The name stems from a 1992 ICP song, “The Juggla,” and is a “term of endearment among the fans.”
Juggalos often paint their faces to look like clowns, and some sport tattoos of “hatchetman,” the logo for Psychopathic Records, ICP’s recording label. There is an annual festival called the Gathering of the Juggalos, sponsored by Psychopathic and featuring its artists as well as other musicians. This was the 18th year for the Gathering.
There’s even a book about their fandom, You Don’t Know Me But You Don’t Like Me.
They are not a political group, just fans of Insane Clown Posse. But back in 2011, the Justice Department’s National Gang Intelligence Center decided the Juggalos were a “loosely organized hybrid gang,” like the Crips, Bloods and MS-13. The annual Gang Threat Assessment report said they engaged in criminal activity and violence.
And, there have been at least two instances where Juggalos have been violent. Earlier this year, a Wisconsin man was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for using a machete to cut off a woman’s pinky finger and drinking her blood. This was all to honor a Juggalo who had died. In 2014, two men tried to carve and burn a tattoo from their housemate’s arm because they thought he had disrespected the fan group.
The Insane Clown Posse band sued the Justice Department and FBI over the gang classification in January 2014, saying it had adversely affected Juggalos. The lawsuit demands that the Juggalos be removed from the Gang Threat Assessment list.
Why are they are protesting?
It’s related to the gang classification and lawsuit. The website announcing the Juggalo March says its goal is to “make a collective statement from the Juggalo Family to the world about what we are and what we are not.”