Cap­i­tal hosts busy day of com­pet­ing Trump ral­lies

San Francisco Chronicle - - NATION - By Ashraf Khalil Ashraf Khalil is an Associated Press writer.

WASHINGTON — Or­ga­niz­ers had dubbed it the Mother of All Ral­lies and hoped to bring out thou­sands to pack the Na­tional Mall on Satur­day in sup­port of Pres­i­dent Trump. In the end, hun­dreds of flag-wav­ing demon­stra­tors did their best to make some noise in sup­port of the pres­i­dent, who had skipped town for the week­end.

The pro-Trump rally was part of a day of di­verse po­lit­i­cal demon­stra­tions in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal that high­lighted the stark po­lit­i­cal di­vi­sions in the United States. It was pre­ceded Satur­day morn­ing by a small protest against Trump near the White House, where about two dozen peo­ple de­manded tougher ac­tion against Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin in re­tal­i­a­tion for Moscow’s in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 U.S. elec­tion.

Wear­ing T-shirts that read, “We’re not PUTIN up with this any­more,” the demon­stra­tors staged a brief rally be­fore march­ing to the nearby home of the Rus­sian am­bas­sador.

While the pro-Trump demon­stra­tors clearly out­num­bered the anti-Trump con­tin­gent, both sides were dwarfed by the jug­ga­los, as sup­port­ers of the rap group In­sane Clown Posse are known. In front of the Lin­coln Me­mo­rial, about 1,500 jug­ga­los staged an all-day rally and con­cert to protest what they say is class-based dis­crim­i­na­tion by law en­force­ment.

A 2011 re­port by the Jus­tice Depart­ment’s Gang Task Force la­beled the jug­ga­los, who fa­vor ex­ten­sive tat­toos and out­landish face paint, a “loosely or­ga­nized hy­brid gang.” It’s the same clas­si­fi­ca­tion used for overtly vi­o­lent gangs such as the Bloods and the Crips.

The rap duo has de­vel­oped an in­tensely de­voted fan base over the course of a 25-year ca­reer, and its fans sat they are a non­vi­o­lent com­mu­nity. Pro­test­ers chanted “fam­ily!” as well as sev­eral ob­scene slo­gans aimed at the FBI.

One demon­stra­tor, Matt Fratelli of New York City, held up a sign that said “Judge me not by the color of my face paint.”

The band, along with the ACLU, sued the FBI in 2014 seek­ing to change the clas­si­fi­ca­tion but with lit­tle suc­cess so far.

Or­ga­niz­ers of the pro-Trump demon­stra­tion had urged peo­ple to at­tend by say­ing: “If you stand for pa­tri­o­tism and free­dom, this rally is for you!”

Trump was not in town to ap­pre­ci­ate his sup­port­ers. He was spend­ing the week­end at his golf club in New Jersey be­fore at­tend­ing the U.N. Gen­eral Assem­bly next week.

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