October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
10 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. Roy

    Man, what a bunch of idiots. No wonder everyone hates conservatives...

    October 13, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. Harry

    The stupidity and treasonous nature of this racist mob has no limits.

    October 13, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. Joe John

    The Tea Party is our most dangerous enemy to a 21st century civilization. Our best hope is to slowly redirect their energy to the corporations that have ultimately created the ignorance and hatred in Tea Party members.

    October 13, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Mel

    Bunch of crazies – they are in suitable company Sarah and Ted.

    October 13, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. JDinHouston

    Wow, just, wow. These are the followers of the Tea Party, a rag tag group of delusional paranoids creating their own myths and believing in them. Sad if there weren't so many that believe the lies of this extremist minority.

    October 13, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Even stupid rednecks have the right to assembly and spout idiocy through microphones. That's why I love this country.

    October 13, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  7. Leroy

    Looks like the idiotic Tea Partiers are consuming too much stale tea!

    October 13, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. Randy

    "the crowd of hundreds..."

    Enough said.

    October 13, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. gary

    "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."-Well arent all Americans entitled to visit the memorial because it is part of their First Amendment rights as well? Who the hell is this government to deny us our rights that are covered in the constitution?

    October 13, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. jon

    hold on. so the tea party is mad that the shutdown they were rather strongly advocating, went into effect? what are they angry about? being unable to hunt in national parks? what kind of excuse are they gonna come up with for this one?

    October 13, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. notabobblehead

    Just the kind of people put up by the shills of the Koch brothers. What great names they pick for their organizations all funded by the Koch brothers and other billionaires with the same agenda, to keep the money flowing into their pockets. The tax cuts that benefit only them will be protected at all cost. Who will pay, the American people.
    Make no mistake Heritage Foundation, Freedom Works, The Club for Growth, American's for Prosperity, Freedom Watch etc. are all shills for protecting the money of billionaires at the expense of "we the people". Look into who funds these organizations, it isn't "we the people".
    Where is their alternative to affordable health care? It doesn't exist!
    Privatize and end social security so business owners won't have to contribute their half.
    No agriculture bill so we can end food stamps.
    No funding for education, so we can keep them stupid.
    The list for cutting funds never ends, except what will be promoted for purchases by big business, like energy companies, defense contractors, banks, investment companies.
    Power to the wealthy ends democracy and promotes the plutocracy.

    October 13, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. Marry

    The smart Republican-supporter have left the GOP already. Even they see that their party needs some time out to recoup! 2014 will be the chance for the people to speak. And I am sure they will!

    October 13, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. Brendan Lane

    I dont get it. Even if the president was Muslim, how would that in any way affect his ability to run the country? Religion should have absolutely nothing to do with government. These crazy old people need to leave the country and come out with their hands up. Im tired of that generation screwing up our generation with their archaic ways of thinking. Its 2013 morons! go move to your own little conservative island and run it to hell.

    October 13, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  14. Tea Party Racism

    Wow, Tea Party members still think Obama is a Muslim? Not surprised to see some veiled racism from an event that the Tea Party decided to invade. Oh, and Palin and Cruz are there blaming the monument shutdown on Dems?

    "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,"

    October 13, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. Steve

    The Tea Party shows it's true colors: intolerance, willful ignorance, and a lack of understanding of cause and effect.

    October 13, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  16. Dougals

    Does the tea party *really* believe that making crap up and ignoring reality is the way forward here? Are they *that* delusional as to think this is anything but a bad joke?

    October 13, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  17. Tim Wilson

    Ridiculous. These guys (Cruz, Lee, et al) CAUSED the shutdown they're decrying, and now have the gall to blame it on someone else. They should be arrested and prosecuted for trespass and damage to government property.

    October 13, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. anonymous

    Really! The Tea Party wanted this mess and had no back up plan! So, lets use the president as a scapegoat! Plus, incite slander and anarchy! Do they think the american public is that DUMB! Boehner! Its time to weed out the extremists from the republican party! They are like the extremists in the middle east! They don't want bipartisanship or democracy! They want to manipulate the constitution to serve their twisted view of american democracy! I am tired of hearing them speak! Weed them out! Get your house in order! Tell them to stop spewing untruthful statements and hate!
    STOP HIJACKING THE VETERANS PLATFORM FOR YOUR IDEOLOGY! YOU END THE HOSTAGE TAKE OVER OF THE GOVERNMENT! STUPID IDEAS HAVE STUPID RESULTS AND WHO SUFFERS OF COURSE THE TAX PAYERS!

    October 13, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  19. BuckeyePhil

    I was there today. There were no barricades "tossed". In most pictures that you will see, the barricades were neatly stacked. This is not an Occupy type crowd and we showed restraint and respect throughout. Get your facts straight!

    October 13, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  20. Mike K.

    Koran? Look at his appointments at the Fed, IRS, Treasury, CFTC, FDIC, and virtually every executive agency having to do with budget, finance, or banking.

    It isn't Muslims, pal.

    October 13, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. Jay Bergen

    Um...what?! It's more clear than ever before that the "tea party" and its sympathizers have no knowledge of or familiarity with history. How can there be such a profound misunderstanding of what's been going on for the past few weeks? I'm astounded that tea-partiers don't have whiplash from instituting such a drastic spin on recent events.

    October 13, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  22. Ann Terhune

    Anyone who voted for a tea party person is responsible for this ignorance.

    October 13, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. runner305

    Just another typical, racist, obtuse response from people who refuse to acknowledge the GOP's role in shutting the government down. Should we be surprised?

    October 13, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. rosaadriana

    What bubble is this guy living in? He does realize that the GOP in the house is the one that is causing the shut down because they won't vote on the CR that the senate sent them. On top of that Obama is not Muslim. Not sure what the Quran has to do with anything.

    October 13, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. Sophie Meyer

    These lunatics are really helping to bring our nation together, don't ya' think?

    October 13, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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