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At International Convention, Clowns Protest Their ‘Creepy’ Impostors

Mexican clowns complain they are being mistreated because impostors are using their costumes for crime.

A Clown holds a baby during the family photo shooting at the XXI Convention of Clowns, at the Jimenez Rueda Theatre, in Mexico City on October 19, 2016.
Latin American clowns hold their 21st annual conference in Mexico City from October 17 through 20. The lurking clown phenomenon as a wave of hysteria about sightings of "creepy" or "killer" clowns that sweeps the United States and European nations concern those present. / AFP / Alfredo ESTRELLA        (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)
A Clown holds a baby during the family photo shooting at the XXI Convention of Clowns, at the Jimenez Rueda Theatre, in Mexico City on October 19, 2016. Latin American clowns hold their 21st annual conference in Mexico City from October 17 through 20. The lurking clown phenomenon as a wave of hysteria about sightings of "creepy" or "killer" clowns that sweeps the United States and European nations concern those present. / AFP / Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

We all know that something strange has been happening recently with clowns. Creepy ones are showing up in all kinds of strange places, terrorizing communities across the United States to the point that local police have had to issue warnings about clowns coming into schools and up to people’s windows at night.

Then the phenomena spread outside the U.S., with creepy clowns showing up in Britain and Australia. Most recently, a group of teenagers dressed as clowns in Mexico reportedly scared civilians with bats last week.

That’s when this whole business crossed the line for clowns south of the border.

In Mexico City, well-intentioned clowns gathered Thursday to chant in protest of those they see as insulting their profession.

“We are clowns, not killers,” they yelled at the 21st annual International Clown Convention.

“There is more good than evil,” a Mexican clown named Hoi Hoi told Reuters. “Clowns show we are good people and we do our work in the best possible way.”

This isn’t the first time the Mexican clown business has been rattled by crime. In 2013, clowns had to defend a colleague who was accused of murdering a drug cartel leader. Mexican clowns also say their costumes are often stolen and used by criminals as disguises.

And criminals have a lot of clowns to choose from: According to the Latin-American Clown Association, there are 10,000 registered in Mexico alone.

Photo credit: ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images

Siobhán O’Grady is a freelance journalist working across sub-Saharan Africa. She previously worked as a staff writer at Foreign Policy. @siobhan_ogrady

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