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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Competing protests hit Washington

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President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Cabinet Room of the White House, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Washington has always been a magnet for protests of all stripes, but Saturday’s lineup looks to be particularly raucous.

The Washington Mall will hold what organizers are calling “The Mother of All Rallies” in support of President Donald Trump. A short distance away, a group of anti-Trump demonstrators will gather to demand that Trump take stronger action against Russia in response to Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election.

And in front of the Lincoln Memorial, thousands of so-called juggalos — supporters of the rap group Insane Clown Posse — will stage a concert and rally to demand that the FBI rescind its classification of juggalos as a “loosely organized hybrid gang.”

The rap duo, specializing in “horrorcore,” has developed an intensely devoted fanbase over the course of a 25-year career. The annual Gathering of the Juggalos music festival draws thousands and is now in its 18th year.

A 2011 report by the Justice Department’s Gang Task Force placed the juggalos, who favor extensive tattoos and outlandish face paint, in the same classification as overtly violent gangs like the Bloods and the Crips. The report said juggalos are “forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity.”

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

Police say they are ready for the protests, which are nothing new in the nation’s capital.

“Right now, there’s a demonstration of some sort happening at the White house. I guarantee you,” said Jeffery Carroll, assistant chief of the Metropolitan Police Department. “It’s part of D.C. It’s in the fabric of the city.”

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Follow Ashraf Khalil on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ashrafkhalil

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