October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
12 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. Nate

    I hate to break it to CNN but these are not all tea partiers my father in law and 20 of his friends who are life long members of the UAW and who 18 of them voted for Obama in both elections are there now. All say they won't vote for another Dem until the healthcare is fixed. Not saying that none of them are part of the tea party just saying the vets are on both sides of the fence and they are all mad that the president would block the monuments. Vet ties is thicker than political ties.

    October 13, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. RE McCray

    Odd comment coming from a radical Christian conservative republican. But then again, Christians are disrespectful towards everyone who don't share their radical and racists viewpoints ... including their own.

    October 13, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. Independent Thinker

    Wow, it's amazing how hateful/spiteful these remarks are. Even more amazing is how quick everyone is to point the finger at only one side of government. What's happening is a classic example of how "not" to govern. We, the registered voters, are the ones with the ability to stop this madness. Vote these people out of office. They obviously don't have our interest in mind. It's like watching kids on a play ground, arguing, then one kid threatening to leave with the only ball. LET'S VOTE THEM OUT IN 2014 & 2016

    October 13, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. Thinkergal

    What a bunch of (expletive deleted) clowns.

    October 13, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. Don, Toronto

    The shutting down of the various memorials and national parks were not done by edicts from the White House. That happens because the Republicans voted not to fund the government agencies that oversee these sites and attractions because they wanted to defund and or repeal the ACA aka Obamacare and clearly stated that unless the president agree to those anti-ACA terms that were part of the continuing resolution bill for 2013 – 2014 fiscal year the result will be as is now, a shuttered government. As such the management staff at the affected agencies had to furlough the Federal and contract staff that work at those closed sites and attraction plus the other departments. Now that the more moderate republicans realized that they canno repeal or have the President agree to delaying the ACA, they have now taken a more meaningful thoughtful approach to focus on entitlement reform and spending cuts. The tea party faithful however, still taking the stand that the continuing resolution bill must have the defunding of the ACA caveat to which the Senate majority and the president must agree to. Now Tea Party Faithful who are not elected to office, those are the facts. So now that you have the facts, determine the real reason for why sites and ojects of interest are closed.

    October 13, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. kevin

    what i find sad about this, is that no ones says anything about other religion book, no ones says put BIBLE DOWN, or put a jews book down, e,t,c but now adays islam book is the one americans can spit on it ,or want to burn them down , or even demonizing the islam book QURAN ,i'm not christian nor jew but i respect all religion including jews and christians e.t.c, but this people in this crowd, create more people to hate america. No wonder a lot of countrys hate america. and thanks to the tee party modern nazis.

    October 13, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. Mr. Moderate

    The American people need to wake up and realize that there are many people in politics, the media and the private sector who are getting enormously wealthy and powerful by playing us for fools and getting us to hate each other.

    October 13, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  8. Cold'Earted Arfur

    I'm all for free speech – it allows idiots to make complete public fools of themselves

    October 13, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  9. Phil

    Are there no laws against treason in the US? Isn't instigating a coup – that's what he's saying – treason?

    October 13, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. pkfops01

    The teaparty folks are like roaches.

    October 13, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  11. mfstout

    Palin and the nutbag Teaparty, the gift that just keeps on giving.

    October 13, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  12. Mark S

    I am a veteran and I think these tea party fools are treasonous.

    October 13, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  13. Mary

    This just affirms that the tea party is full of treasonous delusional individuals.

    October 13, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. Jachin brother of Boaz

    The Mad Tea Party Rally,,,,,"If you do not think then you should not speak!" The Mad Hatter

    October 13, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. Skarphace

    The Tea Party forced the House to attach the ACA to the budget and debt ceiling debates. Everybody knew that the Senate Democrats and Obama would not accept such a bill. That is exactly what Boehner said before the Teapublicans forced him to do things their way. Therefore, it is 100% the fault of the Tea Party that the government is shut down and these memorials are closed.

    This is what the Tea Party wants: a shutdown of the government and subsequent default. All they have to do is detach the ACA bill from the budget ceiling and debt bills and these memorials reopen. If the Tea Party can convince people that it is the Democrats and Obama's fault that the government is shut down, then it is win-win for them. Fortunately, most Americans are not that stupid.

    October 13, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  16. Trent

    Always great when the Klan gets together for a rally.

    October 13, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. Former Republican

    I am a former Republican, and a current Democrat.

    To members of the Far Right GOP, when you call Obama a "Muslim born in Kenya", I wonder whether you are on self destruct mode. This type of extreme talk only helped Obama in November 2012, and will help him even more. Enough is enough!!!

    Also, the Tea Party has no right to complain about a government shutdown. The Tea Party talks all this nonsense about "Smaller, Limited government". Now the government is indeed smaller and limited because it is shutdown. To members of the Tea Party, you all got what you asked for. Stop Complaining!!!!!

    October 13, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  18. Timothy

    If you care about honor for our veterans please read Breitbart's take on this event. Most of the commenters here are too hasty to pass judgment, based on this biased article alone. CNN deliberately finds 2 or 3 of thee scariest examples it can and uses them to bias you against all of us who love our Constitution and our country.

    October 13, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. Betsy

    Ah, CNN just going for the a enticing headline. Couldn't think of anything else to say. Why give those loons any real exposure - you are just adding to this nonsense.

    October 13, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Fred Flintstone

    He is a moslimes! The left is to blind to see it because he has them fooled! Stupid people!

    October 13, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  21. sisterchef

    I know these crazy people are free to say what they like. But they are calling for the overthrow of the government? And they are so hate filled, I am afraid they are really dangerous. Their words are eventually going to cause some of their followers to act out, I fear, with violence. So sad. So very, very sad.

    October 13, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  22. victor

    Obama would murder every single one of those protesters if he could. He hates everyone that isn't in full copy and paste mode of his views.

    October 13, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  23. stevetall

    Impressive. So few ignorant Americans at this event, but those who did speak more than made up for the samll turn-out. Only a bunch of knuckleheads would call something as insignificant as this a Million Anything. Not surprized to see Cruz & Palin getting their freak on either.

    October 13, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  24. govtreform

    I'm thoroughly disgusted. These people have no shame at all. These people aren't Americans, they are terrorists. Shame is, there probably are a few vets (and other sane people) mixed into that crowd that are thinking "I didn't sign up for this" and "this memorial is a place of honor....these words being spoken are not HONORABLE".
    What a blight on a sacred memorial. Standing in a WW2 memorial speaking words that bring up images of Hitler. Absolute DISHONOR.

    October 13, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. Rich Kaufman

    Go figure... If it is against what the liberals like it is report so far left! I am more a demie than a tea partt persin. I am a veteran and you don't have to piss on me and tell me it is raining. Really, someone who says it is my way or not at all is not talking with thw other side no matter what! Really hello wake up. It both sides fault, but more Obama because he is acting like a spoiled brat. Period!

    October 13, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
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