October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
9 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. NickAnast

    This is all John Boehner's fault. All of it. And it will be all Boehner's fault - and no one else's - unless and until he brings up the Senate-passed Continuing Resolution for a vote in the House. Boehner claims it won't pass the House? Prove it! We all know President Obama will sign that CR into law, and government will reopen as a result.

    October 13, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. Carol

    The speaker who stated that the President is a Muslim; where is his proof? (Oh, he has none?). And it 's nobody's business. We were founded on freedom of religion.

    October 13, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  3. Steve

    I don't care if these people are veterans, if someone is a horrible person with hate and ignorance in their heart, why should we ignore all of that just because they served in the armed forces. Why are some people so simple minded...things are not always clear cut and one sided. It is possible for someone to do one great deed of service but yet be a bad person. I have no problem with moderate well intentioned conservatives. My father is one and I love him dearly. I would vote for Chris Christie and would have voted for General Powell back in the day. But this new breed of conservative tea party movement has a strain of hate and ignorance ingrained with it. The rhetoric is based on simple notions that are usually not factually backed up. The one common thread is fear and hatred of different groups. The easiest way to see this is the fact that they seem to have an obsession with Obama's religion. Even if they were right..do most of them realize that being Muslim is perfectly fine, there is nothing wrong with it. Someone should remind them that there is an amendment that comes before the 2nd that gives anyone the right to worship any god they choose. The fact that they harp on something, that even if they were right should not even be an issue scares the crap out of me. How do you rationalize with crazy???

    October 13, 2013 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  4. Name jan53

    At least the vet know who is to blame, the idiot in WH and Senate democrats.

    October 13, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  5. Manny Suarez

    That's a whole lot of stupid in one area.

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

    These terrorist radicals should be arrested. They are just the extreme Tea Party.

    October 13, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  7. Joe

    Obama is the biggest divider this country has ever seen, and given he is the POTUS it's pathetic. There's nobody for libs to complain to about the Tea Party other then themselves. If they wouldn't have gone so far yo the left, there wouldn't have been a vacuum for the Tea Party to fill.

    October 13, 2013 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  8. wolf776

    I doubt the NPS checks with the President on how they decide to deal with the Republican shutdown

    October 13, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  9. Bib Boogg

    When the government shut down in the 90's' memorials to veterans weren't shut down. WTF?

    October 13, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  10. bill39

    The Tea Party obviously tried to create another anti-Obama event. I hope the electorate is smart enough to deliver a message to the Tea Bunglers in 2014. I hope they are thinking of nominating Cruz and Palin for 2016. That would finish them off.

    October 13, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  11. John

    This was NOT a tea party event. It was a large group of Veterans and other supported who fought and gave their all to keep this country free! The present administration (As well as those in the past) are holding the American people hostage through the "Almighty Dollar" and we (I AM a Veteran) are sick and tired of it!!!

    October 13, 2013 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  12. buckeyechucke

    Just another group of uneducated or maybe Fox educated radicals.All of them taught to hate America and government by the republicans.

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

    These Tea party people are pretty much the source of everything going politically wrong lately.

    October 13, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  14. Mary Ann

    The GOP/tea party=American Terrorists this is what they are ,.no excuses call them exactly what they are!

    October 13, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  15. Roddie

    Lord, please forgive these people for the hatred in their hearts and their blatant ignorance. It’s SO sad to see so many people call themselves Christians and hate their fellow man with such passion. I understand they believe in their cause; but to accept such lies so freely…that’s the work of the enemy. And anyone who decides to attack this statement…I’m probably talking about you…just saying…

    October 13, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  16. Ash

    Shows what kind of people make up the tea party. Seriously??? "Put your Koran down"!?
    More the reason to disassociate myself with the Republican Party.

    October 13, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  17. freedom

    This president is infringing on our rights from every direction, and has incited this kind of protest. He wants this to happen. I don't know what his motives are, but they can't be good.

    October 13, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  18. bob

    The slogan for 2014 should be "We want our government back!"

    October 13, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  19. toybuilt77

    THESE people are what is wrong with America.

    October 13, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  20. J

    Gotta hand it to CNN, consistently being Obama's mouthpiece. And to the fraud in the Whitehouse? You have woken a terrible giant. Drop under the radar and finish your term. Hope that history is kind to you.

    October 13, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  21. Kiki

    These people are shameless! Grandstanding at monuments? Just when you thought the Republicans couldn't get any lower. My father fought in WWII and was a lifelong Democrat and if he was alive he would be disgusted at these politicians using veterans for their own glorification.

    October 13, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  22. Thorp lastenbar

    And the smart person in this group would be whom?

    October 13, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  23. ikjyotsinghkohli1

    This was like Gaston rallying the French villagers to "Kill the Beast", but somehow they were more articulate being cartoon characters.

    October 13, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  24. C. Thomas

    This is like a child throwing a tantrum, dumping his cereal on the floor, and then bawling about having nothing to eat.

    October 13, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  25. 21k

    palin should go back to her job at the brothel.

    October 13, 2013 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
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