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.
And this boys and girls, is why we want you to stay in school.
Uneducated adults that do not realize they are ignorant are an embarrassment to this country.
A few years back the GOP was all worked up about Obama going to that Rev. Wright southern Baptist church. I was not aware the pres switched religions. And by the way Mr "The Taxman" months ago Cruz was noted for saying he meant to attach his nonsense to a "Must Pass Bill" for this very end. So it is Cruz and company throwing a hissy-fit because they failed 42 times to repeal the ACA. None I talk with in NJ/NY are falling for that silly banter about the Dem's Shutdown. At least take ownership of the TP tactics.
The country will be better off without the hateful teapartiers. Get back to work, you m o r o n s instead of pointing finger at someone else.
This kind of hate is what got us in this situation in the first place
Yeah, see, people that are THAT out of control, delusional and simply stupid, are the legacy of Bush Jr and his right-wing cronies.
Thanks GOP – You've made America officially the CRAZY capital of the world.
It's comical...a group calling themselves "The Tea Party"...I guess as an homage to the Boston Tea Party...which, unfortunately for them was about 'taxation without representation'...they HAVE representation...if they don't like it, change it.
And then to blame the shutdown of the government fully on Obama...pathetic...carrying signs saying 'Impeach Obama'...I guess they are okay with extortion and black mail...I ran into this attitude before in the corporate world...when they tried to sell 'consensus' as making sure that the minority is heard and then allowed the minority to totally control the discussion even when overwhelmed by others...it is a sad day in the USA!
All I seen were nothing but Veterans!
CNN's deceitful coverage is revolting
If palin was there; it was a hate fest, plain any simple. They know it!!
Barrack will survive as POTUS. They will not as haters in free country.
Congress is the problem. Republican and Democrat. Veterans are allowing a movement that should be a positive and powerful thing get hijacked by the Republican Teabag machine. A bunch of ignorant heehaw clowns yelling about jesus, muslims, and communism. Every slimball from the extreme right is showing up to take advantage. Embarrassed to be a vet when Palin and Cruz and Bachman show up at the rallies. Those people do not speak for me any more than Obama does.
These people are truly the lunatic fringe of our society.
I think its time! place your hands firmly on your shoulders,,(May need to get help with this) and pull very hard,,(may hurt some) When you hear a load "POP"! You have successfully pulled your head out of your ass!
All those "Vietnam" hats looked too new to me......I wonder how many REAL Veterans were in that crowd. Everyone I know (Nam Vets) have had their hats for years and they look it.
I don't care what religion our President practices but I understand that some people do. However, I really don't understand why people continually cheapen their arguments by making statements that have no factual basis. When polls time and time again have shown that a majority of American believe Obama is Christian, why make these statements? I was raised Christian and I truly don't understand how my perception of the Bible and how you should treat others is so different from some of these people.
As a veteran for over 11 years I am starting to LOSE RESPECT for a lot of my fellow veterans! How dare you spot off silly ignorant rhetoric and then speak ON BEHALF OF VETERANS! There are A LOT of us VETERANS that DO NOT BELIEVE IN YOUR TACTICS AND LACK OF LOGIC! You DO NOT speak for me. Quit talking for us veterans and using our status as veterans for YOUR PERSONAL POLITICAL GAIN! You need to learn to be humble and quit acting as if you have some special status as veterans.
As a military veteran of 20 plus years, I am ashamed of what I saw & heard from this so called "Veterans rally." There was no honesty or truth to what these people claim. They should be ashamed of themselves. It is the Tea Party who is using extortion to try and achieve political goals that were soundly rejected by the American people. The tea Party is 100% responsible for the government shutdown, and for the loss of veteran’s benefits. Especially the death benefit for the families of the five lost in combat last week. The Tea Party has been planning this shut down for months. So Tea party supporters, quit lying, get your facts straight, and start taking responsibility for the damage you are currently doing to our country.
Is this news? Giving this attention (especially leading with the ridiculous comment) only legitimizes the fringe mentality as something with substance....CNN please dig deeper for a story with thought and meaning to report
That is so true. The little POTUS needs to start working for America instead of favoring pro-Muslim positions on everything.
I do not know why the President would need to put down a Quran. I believe Jefferson even had one in his possession. Freedom of Religion is one of this nations founding principles, however this guy believes it only applies to white people. It is clear that these are a bunch of racist, Bottom line if you want another white President you need to follow the process and vote him or her in. Hating on the President does not change the fact that he is black he is President and his last name is Obama.
I highly doubt that Obama is Muslim based on his foreign policy with Israel. He isnt very popular in the Middle East. Nonetheless, even if he was Muslim, what does this have to do with anything? As Americans are we not all entitled to the same civil liberties and freedom, and pursuit of happiness? I understand veterans are upset as they have the right to do so but did they not fight to protect the rights and liberties of fellow Americans? Obama's spiritual beliefs are none of our business. It should be his actions that are questioned, or the actions of Republicans. But to bring up his supposed religion is just fueling hate and anger when it is not the issue at hand.
These people are not horrible people, they are expressing their 2 amendment rights. You have the right to do the same if you so choose. On writer was right, Obama has been very petty in closing these memorials and it is squarely on his shoulders. And it is not because he is black, i am so sick oh hesring that. If Bush or a republican had done half of what this man has done, he would been impeached by now.
I hope he never negotiates again with a group if hateful sore loosing republicans. THAT SIDE of the country would rather see our country crumble than be successful under his leadership.
Well I'm with you now, bring it all down I would rather see all of us suffer than give THAT SIDE any more concession.
These comments are priceless. As though the President made a list of Federal locations to close just to irritate veterans and all good christian Americans. As though the smooth operation of the government is not in his best interest. As though the government did not have an annual debt burden until January, 20, 2009, and the only way to save it is to destroy it. As though the current crop of Republicans expect thinking Americans to believe that they have the best interest of all Americans at heart. How did we get this stupid?
"When you listen to fools, the mob rules."
Well, there seems to be enough fools to go around these days... Cruz, Palin, Paul to name but a few ... and if this country flushes itself down the toilet, it deserves it.
Military veterans in their 80's and 90's are refused access to their own open air memorial by a petulant president who won't negotiate the debt ceiling. So when these heroes of WWII finally take down the barricades that were unlawfully and spitefully erected, low-information readers at this site castigate them for being racist and hateful. George Washington and all the signers of the Declaration of Independence must be turning in their graves as to what the mentality of the citizens of this country they started and dedicated to God has become.
Not too long ago, the words being excreted by this ignorant fool would have been considered treason which was punishable by death.