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. Esquire mom

    Ignorant, racist mentality. Nothing this man does satisfies the right wingers... Ashamed they call themselves "Americans"...

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

    If you are still yelling that Obama is Muslim, you are just ignorant and racist. So tired of religious nutjobs. Though, I agree the open air malls shouldnt be shutdown.

    October 13, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. IMPACTED AND ANGRY

    You would have to be very mentally challenged to Blame our President for shutting down the government. Why don't we repeal the Seat Belt Law ? Why don't we repeal the Car Insurance Law ?

    October 13, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. matt houston

    We need these people so America can see the cancer that they really are and to help stop the GOP from government sabotage strategy. They would rather shut down America than see a black man take credit for anything remotely beneficial for the people.

    Look how they stay silent on all the anti terror campaigns, waiting in the dark until misfortunes like Benghazi to arise so they can get on their podiums and say how terrible Obama is doing. Meanwhile, they are getting paid to fight healthcare reform and they are in the pockets of Healthcare Corporations, Insurance Corporations...heaven forbid they try to take away affordable healthcare after it gets a strong foothold like social security benefits. That is why they are scrambling to fight it...even willing to shut down government for their Insurance Puppet Masters.

    October 13, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  5. Winning

    These people are absolutely awful, but they will spell the end of the right's control of the house in 2014.

    October 13, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  6. Will

    Typical thugs of the Tea Party

    October 13, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. mike

    These people are disgusting. Finally it's becoming clear to not just the larger Republican party, but the whole world.

    October 13, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. ricardo1968

    What a disgusting, racist, traitorous display. These people have no respect or appreciation for the democracy they live in. They are mere parasites out to kill the host.

    October 13, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. RobJohnson

    There are plenty of good reasons to object to Obama's policies, but telling him to "put down the Quran" is the height of idiocy and makes this whole protest look bad by association.

    The GOP and anti-Obama crusaders have been hurt by the whole "Obama is a Marxist Muslim who was born in Kenya" nonsense far more than that narrative has helped them.

    Ad hominem attacks are always the last resort of those who can't formulate a coherent argument against the people and/or policies they are against.

    October 13, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. conoclast

    Since they're fairly itching for it, let the psychotic-right start it's little civil war; the shock would only do them good. Do they really hate their country so vehemently that they'd derail its economy-or foment a constitutional crisis-or for that matter to start shooting? We've clearly seen how far removed they are from political reality; what else might we expect from them?
    It's anybody's guess!

    October 13, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    I bet there were millions of marlboro butts on the ground after they left...

    October 13, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. michael

    Idiots. Go home and watch football or something else useful.

    October 13, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  13. Chris

    The extreme right faction of this country is losing it. I'm a moderate independent, and the more these conspiracy-minded demagogues push their way into the mainstream with their wanton disregard of reality and embrace of doomsday prophecy, the more wary I become of anything Republican. The crazier they become, the farther I run.

    October 13, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. Randall

    Here in Boise, Idaho we're planning more protests against this one in the White House, weakest President ever. END THE SHUTDOWN.

    October 13, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. Steve Pruszynski

    CNN this article is disgusting. What you see are the real Americans standing up for their constitutional rights. Any Government that would shut out Veterans from the very Memorial erected in their honor is a disgusting. Its about time you wake up because this country is starting to have enough of the nonsense you support.

    October 13, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. OldSchool

    Yep, the First Amendment applies equally to crazy people. What are ya gonna do?

    October 13, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. Bolthead

    Really?

    One person in a crowd of hundreds called President Obama a Muslim?

    Was U.S. Park Police protection provided to the demonstrators...as it was for the illegal aliens demonstrating for amnesty on the D.C. Mall last Tuesday?

    Or...

    Did the Obama Administration leave them on their own...as WWII vets were when they attempted to visit the open-air monument dedicated to their heroism?

    October 13, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. jerpell

    Obama is the worst U.S. leader in modern times!!!

    October 13, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. Sjbayguy

    These people were obviously missed in the "No child left behind program".

    October 13, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. Tyler

    I feel bad for the Republican party. This Tea Party group has gravely injured the GOP's influence, and they continue to defy common sense. I do not know exactly what American needed, but I do know that American did not need to be left with only one viable political party.

    October 13, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  21. jerpell

    Obama is a great leader of men!

    October 13, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Dennis

    You know you must be lost when you start touring with Sarah Palin.

    October 13, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. Zombietech

    The same nut jobs that caused this mess and have impeded it's resolution are now decrying the issues it's caused. Amazing!

    October 13, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. Bethany

    Um. wow what a spin! it is vets there! I know people there and yes they took down the baracades but this is NOT a concerive movement its pissed off vets who want better for there counry! And they have been nothing but peaceful, and im sorry if punk is so insulting you need to get out more!

    October 13, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. Brandi Ray

    These people are against their own country. The majority voted for President Obama and the majority has ruled. These tea partiers are radical extremists who want to oust a president that America chose. You can't get much more anti-American than that. I say send them all to another country. They don't belong here. This is America. Land of the free and home of the brave. And we chose President Obama. If you don't like it get out.

    October 13, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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