Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

President Donald Trump skipped town for the weekend, but that didn’t stop demonstrators from making him the focus of competing rallies in the nation’s capital that highlighted the stark political divisions in the United States.

Kicking off a Saturday of diverse demonstrations, about two dozen protesters gathered in Lafayette Square, a park just across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, to demand that Trump take strong action against Russian leader Vladimir Putin in retaliation for Moscow’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

They carried signs that said “We’re not PUTIN up with it!” and “Protect American Democracy.” After their rally, marchers headed to the home of the Russian ambassador a few blocks away.

Nearby, on the National Mall close to the Washington Monument, a larger pro-Trump event got underway. Organizers, on the event’s website, appealed for people to “help send a message to Congress, the media & the world” that “we stand united to defend American culture & values.” The pitch to would-be participants: “If you stand for patriotism and freedom, this rally is for you!”

Trump was spending the weekend at his golf club in New Jersey before attending the U.N. General Assembly next week.

Later, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, thousands of juggalos, as supporters of the rap group Insane Clown Posse are known, readied for a concert and rally. They intended to push their demand that the FBI rescind its classification of juggalos as a “loosely organized hybrid gang.”

The rap duo has developed an intensely devoted fan base over the course of a 25-year career.

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 such as the Bloods and the Crips.

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. (AP)

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Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Demonstrators wave national flags and placards during the pro-Trump ‘Mother of All Rallies’ on the National Mall in Washington on Sept. 16, 2017. Supporters of President Donald Trump gathered in the US capital to show support of “free-speech” dubbed the Mother of All Rallies. (Photo: Zach Gibson/AFP/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Juggalos, as supporters of the rap group Insane Clown Posse are known, gather in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington during a rally, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, to protest and demand that the FBI rescind its classification of the juggalos as “loosely organized hybrid gang.” (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Protesters gather outside the White House in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, during a rally encouraging President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan to defend American democracy from Russian interference. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

People gather on the National Mall in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, to attend a rally in support of President Donald Trump in what organizers are calling ‘The Mother of All Rallies.” (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Protesters gather in front of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, during a rally encouraging President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan to defend American democracy from Russian interference. (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Don Folden of Washington, DC takes a knee as pro-Trump supporters stand during the national anthem on the National mall on September 16, 2017 in Washington. Organizers are calling the rally in support of President Donald Trump “The Mother of All Rallies”, President Trump is in New Jersey ahead of attending the U.N. General Assembly next week. (Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Fans of the US rap group Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos, 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. (Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Women hold American Flags for the National Anthem during a pro-Trump event called “The Mother of all Rally’s” on the National Mall in Washington, United States on Sept. 16, 2017. (Photo: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Activists gather for the Mother of All Rallies demonstration on the National Mall in Washington, Sept. 16, 2017. (Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

A fan of the rap group Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos, gets his face painted as several thousand fans prepare to assemble on Sept. 16, 2017 near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington to protest at a 2011 FBI decision to classify their movement as a gang. (Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

People gather on the National Mall in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, to attend a rally in support of President Donald Trump in what organizers are calling ‘The Mother of All Rallies.” (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

=People gather for a rally before the start of the Juggalo March, at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, Sept. 16, 2017 in Washington. (Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Militia members hold each others backpacks during a pro-Trump “Mother of all Rallies” (MOAR) event on the National Mall in Washington on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. MOAR, the “Woodstock of American Rallies,” wants to send a message to Congress, the media and the world that the attendees stand to defend American values and culture. (Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

A Juggalo gathers during the Juggalo March, at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, Sept. 16, 2017 in Washington. (Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Juggalos, as supporters of the rap group Insane Clown Posse are known, gather in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington during a rally, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, to protest and demand that the FBI rescind its classification of the juggalos as “loosely organized hybrid gang.” (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Demonstrators wave national flags and placards during the pro-Trump ‘Mother of All Rallies’ on the National Mall in Washington, DC on Sept. 16, 2017. (Photo: Zach Gibson/AFP/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Fans of the US rap group Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos, hold placards mocking US President Donald Trump during a protest on Sept. 16, 2017 near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington against a 2011 FBI decision to classify their movement as a gang. (Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

A rally attendee wears a mask depicting the face of U.S. President Donald Trump at the Mother of All Rallies on the National Mall in Washington, Sept. 16, 2017. (Photo: James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

A man carries a sign as he walks through a rally on the National Mall in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, in support of President Donald Trump in what organizers are calling ‘The Mother of All Rallies.” (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

People gather for a rally before the start of the Juggalo March, at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, Sept. 16, 2017 in Washington. (Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Pro-Trump supporters rally on the National mall on Sept.16, 2017 in Washington. (Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

A man dressed as Captain America speaks to a demonstrator during the pro-Trump ‘Mother of All Rallies’ held on the National Mall in Washington on Sept. 16, 2017. (Photo: Zach Gibson/AFP/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Fonz Tobin, 25, from Albuquerque, N.M., holds up a sign in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, as he joins other supporters of the rap group Insane Clown Posse, during a rally Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, to protest and demand that the FBI rescind its classification of the juggalos as “loosely organized hybrid gang.” (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Demonstrators dance during the pro-Trump ‘Mother of All Rallies’ on the National Mall in Washington, DC on Sept.16, 2017. (Photo: Zach Gibson/AFP/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Anti-Trump protesters at the Pro-Trump Rally on the National Mall on Sept. 16, 2017 in Washington. (Photo: asos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

‘Trump’ hats are seen in a vehicle during the Mother of All Rallies demonstration on the National Mall in Washington, Sept. 16, 2017. (Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Fans of the US rap group Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos, protest on Sept. 16, 2017 in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. against a 2011 FBI decision to classify their movement as a gang. (Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

People gather on the National Mall in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, to attend a rally in support of President Donald Trump in what organizers are calling ‘The Mother of All Rallies.” (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Zach Vance, from Utah County, Utah, poses for a photo in front of the Lincoln Memorial, before the start of the Juggalo March, Sept. 16, 2017 in Washington. (Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Activists wave flags during the Mother of All Rallies demonstration promoting on the National Mall in Washington, Sept. 16, 2017. (Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Counter-demonstrator Lacy MacAuley of Washington confronts attendees at the Mother of All Rallies as police officers step in, on the National Mall in Washington, Sept. 16, 2017. (Photo: James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Fans of the US rap group Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos, assemble on Sept. 16, 2017 near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington to protest at a 2011 FBI decision to classify their movement as a gang. (Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

People gather on the National Mall in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, to attend a rally in support of President Donald Trump in what organizers are calling ‘The Mother of All Rallies.” (Photo: Susan Walsh/AP)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Masked supporters of the US rap group Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos, gather on Sept. 16, 2017 near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington to protest at a 2011 FBI decision to classify their movement as a gang. (Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

A fan of the US rap group Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos, poses with a national flag as several thousand fans prepare on Sept. 16, 2017 to assemble near the Lincoln Memorial in Washingtonto protest at a 2011 FBI decision to classify their movement as a gang. (Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Awash in protests — Trump supporters, counterprotesters and rap-group fans descend on Washington

Militia members hold each others backpacks during a pro-Trump “Mother of all Rallies” (MOAR) event on the National Mall in Washington on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. MOAR, the “Woodstock of American Rallies,” wants to send a message to Congress, the media and the world that the attendees stand to defend American values and culture. (Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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