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. Name

    That's why we going to get then out

    October 13, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  2. Darrin

    So the previous president gets in with using the legal system, then invades a country on false pretenses of weapons of mass destruction that do not exist, takes the American economy up to the brink and the new president comes in, the brink that was set up to happen no matter who got in happens. Even a republican would have been left with bushes crap and the recession would have happened. And you want to impeach the current president? Who has provided his birth certificate but you can not accept it because he is not white, who goes to catholic church but you insist he is muslim..... And you wonder why your country is in a mess. FACEPALM from the world. THE world.

    October 13, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. john.deatherage

    I'm a fiscal conservative. I'm not an Obama supporter. But questioning anyone's religious beliefs including President Obama is way out of bounds.

    October 13, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  4. john

    still there is alot of resist

    October 13, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  5. Thomas

    These petulant children need a good spanking and to go to bed with out any dinner.

    October 13, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  6. Seattle Sue

    A pox on all Republicans and Tea Party people.

    October 13, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  7. Jim A

    As a Vietnam veteran, I am disappointed that the Tea Party of hate and extortion has had any influence on other veterans.

    October 13, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  8. Scott

    Video of Cruz at events like this is insurance against his elevation to higher office. Keep it up.

    October 13, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  9. BK

    I call on all conservatives to condemn this attack on the freedom of religion like they called on leaders in the Muslim community to condemn acts of terror. Otherwise their call to protect America's freedoms is just a farce.

    October 13, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  10. pauleky

    Tea Party, if these are your "leaders" you are in serious trouble. What an embarrassment.

    October 13, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  11. Waterboard

    Mainstream media will not acknowledge the racist and treasonous impetus which permeates the GOP and many of these segregation era veterans on display for the world to see.

    October 13, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  12. Debbie

    Hats off to our military and all the people that rallied for them today. They keep you safe and they put their lives on the line for you. Show some appreciation. Looks like Obama messed up shutting the memorials down. He and the Democrats were not thinking correctly as usual when doing this. They forgot how many are in the military, their families and all that support their cause. Lost votes for Dems. Any Democrat lost my vote and everyone I've talked to feel the same. Democrats had better accept a deal from the Republicans and they better repeal Obamacare or their party is doomed. Republicans, hang in there. Don't let them back you in a corner to get their way. Frankly, I am tired of supporting all the people on welfare and it's time to put them to work so they can support themselves.

    October 13, 2013 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  13. BK

    @ Patricia. The president will sign a clean CR anytime the house decides to pass it. How would the Tea Party feel if democrats refused to pass a similar bill if the country did not ban all guns? The president standing up against this kind of behavior will protect those on the right next time democrats try and pull a stunt like this (though I am not sure there are enough extreme democrats to be able to do something so stupid).

    October 13, 2013 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  14. Joe

    Quit blaming the republicans. Wake up, open your eyes and see how your being lied too by the president and his organization. He lied about Obama care. It is so expensive! Affordable care act? Really? Republicans are writing new budget proposals Obama keeps rejecting. What has the senate written? nothing. If you can not see what is really happening. Educate yourself and quit drinking the presidential kool aide!!

    October 13, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  15. griffbos

    such talk does nothing to solve the problems of this country, just wish people would grow up and act like adults when they are of that age.......

    October 13, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  16. Gary

    Why don't these disgusting tea party people say what they really mean? It rhymes with trigger...
    They actually can't say the word because they know it will crush them like the infested bugs they are. Anyone with an ounce of brain function and any Political History can tell you President Obama is no where deserving of this compared to more liberal minded past Presidents.

    October 13, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  17. EqualrightsforAllAmericans

    Yep. Sounds like a klu klux Klan Rally to me!!

    October 13, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  18. Thingswedo

    Who r these tea party supporters..? They seem like terrorist without guns..they are more extreme than any group in the world..please don't b a part of it..sooner or later most of the American people will realize and the tea party supporters will have no place to hide..

    October 13, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  19. Clarity

    Are Christians suppose to be better than other religions ? Sounds like modern day bigotry to me.

    October 13, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  20. Dave

    More republican games. The exact reason gov is still closed. The tea party closed it not Obama.

    October 13, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  21. Yolanda Perez

    All KKK members changed their name to Tea Party. That's their retorics and language reveals.

    October 13, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  22. James the Coastie

    The "Quran" people were the minority. The majority of vets at this event were calling on Obama and BOTH sides of Congress to resolve the crisis, and to stop using our vets as a political pawn. I was there. CNN is, of course, not reporting on the rest of the rally, but focusing on the inevitable crazies that will attend any rally.

    We opened with the pledge of allegiance.

    October 13, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  23. Netmonger

    What a detestable thing to say... Wrong on sooo many levels.. How anyone can admit to being a Republican these days is totally beyond me..

    October 13, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  24. Frank

    The Tea Party is not a viable organization. They are in a time warp or something,who knows.

    October 13, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  25. timothy

    The GOP is in SERIOUS trouble because the inmates have taken over the asylum. The Birther Muslim thing was settled five years ago and these conspiracy theorists should do the patriotic thing and disqualify themselves from voting.

    October 13, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
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