October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
11 months ago

Rallier tells Obama to 'put the Quran down'

Updated 3:37 p.m. ET, 10/13/2013

Washington (CNN) - Angered by the closure of national landmarks due to the partial government shutdown, a crowd of conservatives removed barricades Sunday at the World War II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial as they rallied against President Barack Obama and Democrats for their role in the ongoing stalemate.

High-profile speakers with close ties to the tea party appeared at the event, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

The rally, billed as the "Million Vet March on the Memorials," drew far fewer than a million people and evolved into a protest that resembled familiar tea party events from 2009, with yellow "Don't Tread On Me" flags throughout the crowd and strong anti-Obama language from the podium and the audience.

One speaker went as far as saying the president was a Muslim and separately urged the crowd of hundreds to initiate a peaceful uprising.

"I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up," said Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, a conservative political advocacy group.

Shutdown drags on: 'It's taken far too long'

On the first day of the government shutdown, October 1, a group of World War II veterans was barred from entering the open-air memorial. But with the help of a few Republican members of Congress, the veterans removed the barricades and streamed onto the site, as security guards stood aside.

The Department of Interior has since said that veterans with the Honor Flight program will be permitted to visit the memorial as part of their First Amendment rights, but otherwise the site is closed to the general public until the government reopens.

Veterans groups to push to end government shutdown

Cruz, the senator who's become the face of the Republican stance in the shutdown, attacked the Obama administration for fencing off the memorial and other national monuments, saying the closures were nothing but a political ploy.

"This is the people's memorial. Let me ask a simple question. Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?" he asked. "Our veterans should be above politics. Enough games."

Demonstrators removed the barricades Sunday at the rally, tossing them into a pile nearby. After the speeches, the crowd wandered down to the nearby Lincoln Memorial and removed its barriers as well. When some officers tried to put them back up, protesters took them from the officers' hands and carried them away from the memorial.

"You look around though and you see these barricades and you have to ask yourself, is this any way that a commander in chief would show his respect, his gratitude to our military? This is a matter of shutdown priorities," Palin said.

RNC offers to pay for WWII memorial guards

Anti-Obama sentiments echoed throughout the crowd Sunday, with one protester yelling out "punk" to describe the president and one speaker saying Obama is not the president of "the" people but "his" people. Multiple signs read "Impeach Obama."

Asked last week whether the White House had any say in the closure of the World War II Memorial, spokesman Jay Carney said Republicans were at fault.

"Every House Republican who has decried any impact from this shutdown, as if they were surprised that it would happen, clearly didn't pay attention when every agency of the federal government posted on their websites ... what would happen if the government were shut down, including the closing of national memorials and national parks," he said at a press briefing.

"If any member of Congress who got in front of a television camera to try to get some attention on this issue spent half that time on the floor of the House voting to open the government, we wouldn't have a problem," he added.

Photo by Brian Rokus

Later on Sunday, some people from the rally walked over to Pennsylvania Avenue carrying the barricades and dumped them in front of the White House. While they gathered peacefully for the most part, some were more vocal and shouted at police on horseback. "You work for us," some chanted.

At one point, some pushing and shoving took place as police in riot gear began to put up some barricades in front of part of the White House fence.

Tourists were also among the mix Sunday, taking pictures as normal, while others simply came out of curiosity.

Ashley Killough wrote; Shannon Travis and Brian Rokus reported from the National Mall and the White House. CNN's Jim Acosta also contributed from the White House.


Filed under: President Obama • Tea Party • Washington
soundoff (2,570 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    dangerous rhetoric from the tp daring the gop to default

    October 13, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. Jill-IN

    How stupid are these T Party people. They want less government or no federal government and wanted to shut it down and then when Congress shuts it down, they blow up because the National Parks are shut down.

    October 13, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. politicaltrashtalk

    It's a free world i just wish they would get their facts right!

    October 13, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. the hippies were right

    This is beginning to look like a scary movie. The only problem is this is real. I am beginning to believe it is a curse to have an open mind and comprehend reason and logic. These people protesting are free, for they don't know the difference.
    This is insanity!

    October 13, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. Joe

    There is no hate like Republican hate. It's a category that goes much deeper.

    October 13, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  6. ZoeyJ

    Note to Tea Party..........Keep drinking the Kool-Aid of Greed, Hate, Judgement and Control. The wealthy GOP use you like fools.

    October 13, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. Haggis Lovegroin

    I believe the politically correct term for this ilk would be "mouthbreathers".

    October 13, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. Eric B

    I wasnt aware obama was muslim, i wish people could get thier insults right

    October 13, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. Jm

    Many is the ANGRY white person!!!

    October 13, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. Thank God I'm Canadian

    What a distinguished and multi-cultural group of protesters we have here... Anyone else thinking that the Westboro Baptist and the Tea Party have a lot in common?

    October 13, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. nanners

    Sound like a group of terrorists to me.

    October 13, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. jeff

    Why is there no free speech?

    October 13, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Really?

    Members of the Tea Party have to be the biggest morons out there. Do you seriously think that ANY of these politicians in power is going to do anything for you? But hey it's your choice to back a party founded and supported by billionaires. Go ahead and have fun.

    October 13, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. bbk

    Everything but the hoods and a burning cross

    October 13, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. dnokc

    There's much more to this story.....stay tuned!

    October 13, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. ConnieLynn

    All I can say is "what idiots". they all need to go back 100 years as they are in the wrong century.

    October 13, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  17. Ragin Cajun

    "Asked last week whether the White House had any say in the closure of the World War II Memorial, spokesman Jay Carney said Republicans were at fault."

    Mr. Carney could teach more about propaganda than Joseph Goebbel's could have ever dreamed.

    October 13, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. steve

    These are not Americans. The Tea Party is more National Socialist Party than Republican. They will believe any lie their leaders speak. They are too stupid to see the truth.

    October 13, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. tony

    Getting difficult to separate the tea party "ideals" from the General Franco rebellion against the Spainish Govt. just prior to WW II.

    October 13, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Tampa Tim

    This is an example of what is wrong with America. Stupid people doing incredibly stupid things.

    October 13, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. Thomas

    "If any member of Congress who got in front of a television camera to try to get some attention on this issue spent half that time on the floor of the House voting to open the government, we wouldn't have a problem,"

    HOUSE SPEAKER PUT A CLEAN SPENDING BILL ON THE FLOR FOR A VOTE !

    October 13, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. Jerry

    Glad we still have some true Americans that will stand up for what this Country is about and not bow down to the Muslim in Office as President.

    October 13, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. JCox in Wayne

    It's one thing to protest things you're not happy with ... that are REAL. It's quite another thing to protest against fantastical things that have absolutely no place in reality.

    And that's what bothers me the most about the Tea Party. The vast majority of their complaints have no basis in fact.

    October 13, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. Jim

    Proof that about half the population of the US are idiots.

    October 13, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. steven dahl

    Thank you for removing the barricades. Next step: remove all pols in DC.

    October 13, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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