Who are the Juggalos and Why Did They Demonstrate in Washington DC?

Among the thousands of protesters who took to the streets of Washington DC Saturday , some certainly did not look like your average demonstrators.

Dressed in creepy clown garb and some sporting punk haircuts, approximately 1,000 demonstrators grabbed the attention of passers-by as they gathered north of the Washington Monument then marched to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

GettyImages-848050298 Fans of the US rap group Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos, march past the White House during a protest on September 16, 2017 in Washington, D.C. against a 2011 FBI decision to classify their movement as a gang Getty

The protesters were ‘Juggalos,’ a group which has been labelled as a gang by the FBI.

Under the agency’s National Gang Threat Assessment, Juggalos are defined as a “loosely-organized hybrid gang.” The assesment was made after a series of crimes by self-described Juggalos. 

GettyImages-848087902 Fans of the US rap group Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos, gather during a protest on September 16, 2017 in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. against a 2011 FBI decision to classify their movement as a gang. Getty

However the demonstrators argue that they are simply fans of rap-metal group Insane Clown Posse, and FBI designation has led to them being subjected to discrimination by law enforcement, losing jobs and being barred from the military.

"What kind of gang sells music and not drugs and guns?" one of the organizers said on stage shortly after the rally began, reported The Hill.

GettyImages-848084310 Violent J of Insane Clown Posse speaks with (L) Shaggy 2 Dope before the Juggalo March takes off from the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, on September 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. Fans of the band Insane Clown Posse. known as Juggalos, are protesting their identification as gang by the FBI in a 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, Getty

Jason Webber, a publicist at the band's label, Psychopathic Records, said the protest would focus attention on the treatment of the group.

"What we hope to get out of it is to get the attention of the entire world and the FBI and other political forces to drive home a simple but powerful message: Juggalos are not a gang. They are a musical subculture and family," he told NBC News.

GettyImages-848010528 A Juggalo gathers during the Juggalo March, at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, September 16, 2017 in Washington, DC. Fans of the band Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos, are protesting their identification as a gang by the FBI in a 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment. Getty

Whether the Justice Department will listen to their pleas remains uncertain.

 

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