Jug­ga­los de­scend on Washington

Na­tional Mall gath­er­ing fol­lows pro-Trump ‘Mother of All Ral­lies’ that draws hun­dreds

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Deirdre Sh­es­green

WASHINGTON Fol­low­ers of the hip-hop group In­sane Clown Posse — known as Jug­ga­los — held a march Satur­day on the Na­tional Mall, al­leg­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion af­ter the FBI la­beled the group a gang in a 2011 re­port.

The band, con­sist­ing of the duo Vi­o­lent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, said the gang ac­cu­sa­tion “has re­sulted in hun­dreds if not thou­sands of peo­ple sub­jected to var­i­ous forms of dis­crim­i­na­tion, ha­rass­ment and pro­fil­ing sim­ply for iden­ti­fy­ing as a Jug­galo.” In a video on their web­site, the hip-hop artists claim their fans have lost jobs and cus­tody of their chil­dren and been de­nied ac­cess to the mil­i­tary for their Jug­galo af­fil­i­a­tion.

Ale­sia Modglin, a pizza de­liv­ery worker from south­west Mis­souri, said she felt com­pelled to drive to D.C. to protest the FBI’s clas­si­fi­ca­tion. She said the group draws in young peo­ple who grew up in trou­bled homes.

“It’s a fam­ily. … Ev­ery­body loves each other,” said Modglin, who came to the na­tion’s cap­i­tal with her hus­band, two tod­dlers and sev­eral other fam­ily mem­bers. She said some of the band’s songs are “de­monic, but there are hid­den mes­sages of a peace­ful place.”

Best of all, she said, there’s “no judg­ment.”

Fonz Tobin, a 25-year-old from Al­bu­querque, said the FBI’s clas­si­fi­ca­tion was ridicu­lous.

“We’re paint­ing our faces and clown­ing around,” said Tobin, who joined the Jug­ga­los when he was 13.

“I had no place to live. I had no food in my stom­ach,” he said. “The peo­ple who took me in were the Jug­galo . ... They pulled me into their fam­ily.”

He said he works at Tar­get for a liv­ing and is try­ing to do film pro­duc­tion on the side.

“Am I out there deal­ing drugs? Am I out there shoot­ing peo­ple up?” he said. “No. I have a job.”

Ear­lier Satur­day, hun­dreds of pro-Trump ac­tivists gath­ered on the Na­tional Mall in what they said was a show of Amer­i­can pa­tri­o­tism and cel­e­bra­tion.

“We’re here to sup­port our pres­i­dent and this coun­try,” said Sue Babinec, who trav­eled to Washington from Cincin­nati for what or­ga­niz­ers dubbed the “Mother of All Ral­lies.”

U.S. Park Po­lice braced for a crowd of as many as 3,000 peo­ple. As the event opened, there were per­haps only 1,000 peo­ple gath­ered just north of the Washington Mon­u­ment where or­ga­niz­ers set up a stage and booths for the day’s ac­tiv­i­ties.

If the crowd lacked the pro­jected strength, it made up for it in show, with many par­tic­i­pants decked out in pro-Trump garb and car­ry­ing Amer­i­can flags.

“As soon as they an­nounced it, I knew I had to be here,” said Dana Robin­son, of Pitts­burgh, as she weaved her way through the crowd in a patch­work dress of Trump photos.

Trump is “one of us,” Robin­son said. “He’s an ev­ery­man’s pres­i­dent . ... He’s do­ing great with no help from any of the Repub­li­cans.”

A hand­ful of Repub­li­can can­di­dates also made their way to the stage, ral­ly­ing the crowd with their Trump-style po­lit­i­cal pitches.

“Ev­ery­where you turn, there are stum­bling blocks to suc­cess,” said Bruce Nathan, a GOP can­di­date

Don­ald Trump is “one of us. He’s an ev­ery­man’s pres­i­dent.” Dana Robin­son, of Pitts­burgh, at the “Mother of All Ral­lies” on the Na­tional Mall on Satur­day

for gov­er­nor of Florida, “put there by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.”

The rally was peace­ful but not with­out some skir­mishes. A few coun­ter­protesters tried to in­ter­act with the Trump sup­port­ers, and they were met in at least one case with a swarm of cam­ou­flage­clad mili­tia ral­ly­go­ers. The park po­lice quickly in­ter­vened and broke up the con­fronta­tion.

Matthew Mur­guia, 52, from the Washington sub­urbs, ar­rived with a sign that said, “Mex­ico will pay for im­peach­ment hear­ings.” Mur­guia said he came to the rally to “re­mind th­ese peo­ple that their pres­i­dent, my pres­i­dent, is a liar.”

KEITH LANE FOR USA TO­DAY

A few hun­dred pro-Trump sup­port­ers gather on the Na­tional Mall on Satur­day to take part in the “Mother of All Ral­lies.”

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