In the wake of the creepy clown sightings in several states of North and South Americas and Europe that caused widespread panic, professional clowns from across Latin America came together at an annual convention in Mexico to give a serious message: "We are clowns, not killers!"
Around 200 clowns took part in the 21st International Clown Convention, dressed in bright coloured clothes and makeup, and chanted the word as they clicked group pictures to counter the "creepy clown" craze.
In Mexico, these creepy clown sightings became a menace recently. According to the Straits Times, last weekend five teenagers were detained in the northern border city of Mexicali after they dressed as clowns and frightened people by chasing them with bats. In the central city of Queretaro, five others were detained police received complaints due to their devilish clown appearance.
As reported by the news portal, an Argentine clown who goes by "Fluorescent Plug" said "I don't see anything funny about it," while participating the Convention wearing giant trousers. "Clowns make people laugh and happy..It's not just painting your face," he said.
Moreover, Tomas Morales, president of the Brotherhood of Latino Clowns, expressed concern about the craze and said that it could be dangerous.
"If (people) see in the news that we are evil, they can take a machete or a gun and kill a clown," Morales said, as reported. He also requests the media not to invent cases of clowns that cause terror.
Social media sites have been flooded with numerous accounts of sighting scary clowns in parts of US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and other countries. On 9 October, Reuters reported that a woman in Brisbane told local media that she was chased by a clown holding a knife. "The clown purge appears to be a copycat of incidents being seen in the USA recently," a Victoria police statement said, according to the Guardian.
In August 2016, the clown sightings started around Greenville, South Carolina, according to Reuters. The news agency reported that police received multiple reports of clowns lurking near Laundromats, standing silently by roadsides and trying to lure children into the woods with bags of cash or green laser lights.
Numerous videos and pictures have been posted on social media of brightly-dressed clowns standing in the woods or scaring residents in US, Australia and New Zealand.
Some reports suggest that these incidents are either an elaborate hoax or a horror movie publicity stunt, but it is still unclear exactly what started this craze in US.
According to Reuters, police said a 22-year-old woman was assaulted early on 8 October by two men disguised as clowns In the New Zealand city of Hamilton.
"This was a very frightening experience for the young woman," added the New Zealand police in a statement.