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.
It really saddens me to see what this country has become. President Obama is half white and half black. He was raised by his white grandparets who I believe he loved very much. The hate & disrespect this President recieves is almost unbearable. I alsi believe if his skin was a lil whiter & if he had a blond haired blue eyed wife & children it would be easier for people to accept him.
These people really do imagine that they can nullify the last election and destroy the government. We used to call them the lunatic fringe. Now we just call them Republicans.
Thanks for amplifying the rambling nonsense of a racist nut, CNN. We already have the Republicans riling up these psych-jobs and not taking responsibility for it. There's no need for a news organization to fuel the fire.
That was a fair comment........considering the many, many Islamic figures that have visited the WH, many f them unfriendly to the U.S.
Hate is so sad.
*Sigh*. Tea party: please leave the United States. Form your own country with your own laws. We promise we will stay away.
Sorry all you teahadist..your party is finished, kaput, done. You are in the death throws of collapse and in the minority. Keep blaming Obama for the shutdown but the fault falls squarely on house republicans. The contempt for rule of law and order is border line treason and at some point should be dealt with harshly.
Obama is the most infantile, lying, irresponsible leader EVER – I cannot even call him president!. He should hang his sorry head in shame for his treatment of our military, seniors and others whom he feels are unimportant in his socialist world. He has punished anyone and everyone he can to make them feel as much pain and inconveniences as he can on Americans – who by the way are his employers. Not only that Obama has no clue or respect for the beautiful and historical antiques in the white house - every picture shows him with his feet on very valuable antiques. Obama and his namesake Obamacare will down in history as the least respected President in USA's history even lower than Jimmy Carter and that's saying a lot!
Nonsensical (and, I might add, un-American, even if they had any ounce of truth) remarks like these make the whole rally questionable as to its goals. It seems these weren't just concerned people, but political activists. It's nice to see so many continue the tradition of spewing lies enough that people start actually believing them. Hatred can even make a person believe his or her own lies.
People like this make the rest of the world think we are just ignorant fools. Thanks
Another nazi spouting garbage in front of the media!
What is sad is these vets actually believe it!
Cruz and Palin continue to align themselves with uneducated bigots and racists who spew forth this nonsense. (these are, of course, their "people") Its too late for them to turn away the blame for the shutdown, so they turn to their core lunatic fringe base, because they know they can count on these people to support them blindly and believe every word they say. Its just sad to think that some people want Ted Cruz as President. The day that happens will truly be the end of the Mayan calendar. Zuul will rise, the Yankees will win the Super Bowl, and all the dolphins will go to outer space to escape, thanking us for the fish. Then probably the earth will blow up or something...but it'll be Obama's fault, right!?
Republicans are traitors!
What does the Quran have to do with the shutdown? Also, how is it that this is Obama's and the democrats' fault when they wanted to keep the government open so badly that they agreed all the way down to the republican funding level? This is about the republican grudge against the passage of the ACA. The shutdown is how far they are willing to go.
Wow... breath-taking ignorance and hate.
CNN (Ted Turner) is just protecting their power base. This rally was put together by and for Veterans. They know they can count on Tea Party support, and it was given. It costs MORE to barricade open-air monuments – as it would to close a sidewalk – not less, and it's done by directive from the White House to create the most PAIN. This whole thing is the result of Obama and Reid refusing to negotiate AT ALL in direct contradiction to the Constitution. Those two have disenfranchised HALF the voting population of the U.S. Don't expect to silence us.
cnn showing very distorted view of rally- cnn anti-veteran
There's good reason you rarely hear 'smart' and 'tea party' in the same sentence.
Yes, the President personally took time to go to each and every single monument, park, and museum, put a lock on each gate and went home to sip wine. Never mind the fact that it takes personnel to keep those places open, safe, clean, and in order ( people tend to be misbehaved) and since there is no funding for the personnel, the locations must be closed. But let's continue blaming our President, it's a lot easier than taking responsability for putting the current congress in their seats. It's a shame to see such a great nation devolve into this.
It's impossible to understate just how distant from reality this guy, and presumably most of these rally attendees are. This attempt to paint Obama as the Antichrist is getting really, really old.
It’s easy to complain, blame and make false accusation instead of sitting down and actually trying to solve the problem. What he is muslin, what does his religious preferences have to do with him being the president? what does that have to do with the laws of the land that he is as an us citizen have been following, if not, why haven't he been arrested. My point exactly. One more thing that all of you probably don’t know. The president is a constitutional lawyer. OH what does that mean to you, well I’m glad that you ask. Allow me to translate this for all of you that obviously don't have a clue of what that means. It means that he knows the law and all of those that are running their yap trap don’t. It’s one thing after another with these groups. First he isn’t and us citizen but yet he was born in the united stated to a Caucasian women. Second, he not a Christian. How many applications have you seen that ask you about your religious preference? Let me answer this for you…none, you want to know why? Because it would be against the law!! Third, he is the cause of the government shut down. Wrong again. All of this anger needs to be directed to the US House of Representatives. This group has been obstructing this president from the very start of his presidency, they have been hiding behind the so called conservative party motto when in fact, they’re been trying to sabotage this man’s administration from the very start. All of that mouth isn’t anything but hot air, instead of going to the white house; they should be going to the house of representative to voice their concerns. The president is only one, but the house is over 200, you do the math, who you think is really holding this country hostage?
why is cnn lying about veterans in dc? shame
I haven't seen such a collection of wing nuts since I looked in a coffee can in my mother's basement. The collective intelligence of these people is a negative number. Run for your lives, they're sucking the intelligence out of anyone who gets close. Just like a black hole!
Oh boy.. Who let out the patients from the local DC mental hospital? The sheer ignorance spoken from the mouths of the unintelligent is baffling and a complete disservice to the American public. These cartoon characters with their simple minded catch phrases and lack of facts is hilarious and a sad spectacle. Palin needs to stay in Alaska and Cruz needs to wake up.. It's the 21st Century. Plus to all the veterans which read these forums and attended this pointless event .. "These fools you follow are same jerks they would send you to fight for freedom but would never stand beside you on the field of battle.."- "they are cowards and scum.. You served this nation and deserve respect but please do not allow these foanies to drive you like cattle to the slaughter.." - Obama didn't cause the shutdown.. The GOP are throwing a tantrum like a bratty child. They need a big slap on the backside right out of DC for a long time .. Until they learn the American people will not stand for the pathetic behavior they display day in and day out. The dems are not innocent either but tend to look out for all people. I say a comment awhile ago .. Some wrote the GOP stand for those that don't require help from the government and they should be rewarded .. But the government doesn't serve those rich and well off people or just the poor and helpless. The government is supposed to serve the best interest of all people of this nation not a small majority of greedy individuals that cry every time they don't get their way.. Grow up!
You guys are a huge disgrace but come judgement day you all better be ready to explain the truth this America not kenya you guys put up about muslims march but not our own vets for what they fought for but a disappointment you are I hope your cencus goes way down as far and for now on I will stick with fox .....