Nine months into the administration of President Donald Trump, fans of the eccentric Detroit rap duo Insane Clown Posse assembled a larger rally on the national mall this Saturday than the president’s diehard supporters stationed a few hundred yards away.
The dueling rallies reflected the difficulty that any sitting president has in mobilizing his base, and the particular challenge that Trump has as he struggles to pass major legislation and honor his campaign promises.
Unlike the pro-Trump rally, Juggalos, as clown-makeup-wearing Insane Clown Posse fans call themselves, protested on the National Mall on Saturday for an actual specific purpose. That could explain why the gathering that surrounded the base of the reflection pool at the Lincoln Memorial this afternoon was significantly larger than the pro-Trump rally.
In 2011, the FBI’s National Gang Intelligence Center designated Juggalos, who say they are simply fans of a band, as a “loosely organized hybrid gang,” saying a subset of the group is involved in criminal activity. The agency sent out briefing materials to all law enforcement offices around the country listing Juggalos as a gang alongside Crips, Bloods and MS-13. They pointed out particular signs to look for to see if a person was a Juggalo, like the “hatchet man” symbol of the Insane Clown Posse.
The result was that people who counted themselves fans of Insane Clown Posse have been fired from their jobs, lost children in custody battles and were targeted and harassed by police.
Kevin Gill, an employee for the band and host of a Juggalo podcast, gave the opening remarks, calling the rally, “The most important day in Juggalo history.” This protest was “some monumental shit,” he added, before ripping into a denunciation of the FBI for categorizing Juggalos as a gang. In response, the crowd broke into a raucous chant about the much-hated FBI, “They fucked up! They fucked up!”
“Give us back our fucking civil rights,” Gill shouted.
Gill and every other speaker at the Juggalo rally preached inclusivity with a passion that speakers at the pro-Trump rally reserved for subjects liker border security.
“We don’t care if you’re black, white, Hispanic, straight, gay, trans, fat as fuck or skinny as a broom stick,” Gill said, adding everyone is welcome to be or support Juggalos.
This was largely the message from…