Jug­ga­los rally

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - AP/PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS

Jug­ga­los, as sup­port­ers of the rap group In­sane Clown Posse are known, march past the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment Satur­day as they head to­ward the Lin­coln Memorial in Wash­ing­ton dur­ing a rally. The event was held to de­mand the FBI re­scind its clas­si­fi­ca­tion of the jug­ga­los as a “loosely or­ga­nized hy­brid gang.”

WASH­ING­TON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was out of town for the week­end, but that didn’t stop demon­stra­tors from mak­ing him the fo­cus of com­pet­ing po­lit­i­cal ral­lies in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal.

Kick­ing off a Satur­day of di­verse demon­stra­tions, about two dozen pro­test­ers gath­ered in Lafayette Square, a park just across Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue from the White House, to de­mand that Trump take strong ac­tion against Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin in re­tal­i­a­tion for Moscow’s in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 U.S. elec­tion.

They car­ried signs that said “We’re not PUTIN up with it!” and “Pro­tect Amer­i­can Democ­racy.” After their rally, marchers headed to the home of the Rus­sian am­bas­sador a few blocks away.

Nearby, on the Na­tional Mall close to the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment, about 500 Trump sup­port­ers as­sem­bled for an all-day demon­stra­tion and con­cert.

The event’s web­site ap­pealed for people to “help send a mes­sage to Congress, the media & the world” that “we stand united to de­fend Amer­i­can cul­ture & val­ues.” The pitch to would-be par­tic­i­pants: “If you stand for pa­tri­o­tism and free­dom, this rally is for you!”

D.C. po­lice feared fric­tion be­tween the groups along the lines of the clashes be­tween white su­prem­a­cists and left­wing demon­stra­tors that turned deadly in Char­lottesville, Va., last month.

Au­thor­i­ties had plans in place, in­clud­ing street re­stric­tions, to keep or­der and sep­a­rate the groups as nec­es­sary. Loom­ing over them was the re­sponse in Char­lottesville, where po­lice were faulted for a slow re­ac­tion as the protest turned vi­o­lent.

D.C. po­lice an­nounced at least 15 road clo­sures around the Na­tional Mall. The Wash­ing­ton Metropoli­tan Area Tran­sit Au­thor­ity said the Smith­so­nian sta­tion on the Mall would be closed, and trains on the Or­ange, Blue and Sil­ver lines were to run through the sta­tion Satur­day but not stop.

Trump was spend­ing the week­end at his golf club in New Jersey be­fore at­tend­ing the United Na­tions Gen­eral As­sem­bly this week.

Later, in front of the Lin­coln Memorial, more than 1,000 jug­ga­los, as sup­port­ers of the rap group In­sane Clown Posse are known, ral­lied and held a con­cert. They are push­ing their de­mand that the FBI re­scind its clas­si­fi­ca­tion of jug­ga­los as a “loosely or­ga­nized hy­brid gang.”

The pro­test­ers lis­tened to a se­ries of speak­ers and mu­si­cians amid clouds of mar­i­juana smoke. They chanted “fam­ily” and an ob­scen­ity about the FBI.

The rap duo has de­vel­oped an in­tensely devoted fan base over the course of a 25-year ca­reer, and some fans held signs that said, “Mu­sic is Not a Crime.”

A 2011 re­port by the Jus­tice De­part­ment’s Gang Task Force placed the jug­ga­los, who fa­vor ex­ten­sive tat­toos and face paint, in the same clas­si­fi­ca­tion as overtly vi­o­lent gangs such as the Bloods and the Crips.

The rap group and its fans claim to be a non­vi­o­lent com­mu­nity sub­ject to largely class-based dis­crim­i­na­tion by law en­force­ment. The band, along with the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union, sued the FBI in 2014 seek­ing to change the clas­si­fi­ca­tion but has so far had lit­tle suc­cess.

Ja­son Web­ber, an or­ga­nizer of the jug­galo rally, said ahead of the rally that the group is apo­lit­i­cal but noted that many of the band’s songs de­cry big­otry.

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