October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
11 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. MRK

    Obama is not a Muslim, crazies. Oh by the way, welcome to America. Not everyone is Christian, and it has been that way for a long time. It's a shame they desecrate the Gadsden flag by using it for their symbol.

    October 13, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. Two Faced

    The tea party is ridiculous. They whine about the government while cashing their social security checks.

    October 13, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. YeahItsaboutthattimeee

    About what I'd expect from these mislead idiots. The right-wing: Hating Obama For All The Wrong Reasons.

    October 13, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. Sarah Michele

    These people are nuts and more media they get, the crazier they look. Lovin' it.

    October 13, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. Name carl

    The Tea Party is to blame
    for the shutdown. What a bunch of nuts. Hope they are voted out in 2014.

    October 13, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. WillK

    Nice. These people are not patriots; they have no idea what being a patriot is. They are neo-Nazis, an embarrassment to every real American. Wake up people – they could be coming for you next.

    October 13, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  7. conoclast

    It's time to put the psychotic-right in its place, Mr. President! They're spoiling for a constitutional crisis (or for civil war, if you listen closely to them!); give them what they clamor for: INVOKE THE 14th AMENDMENT.

    October 13, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  8. W.

    It is almost sublime where the problem lies. The extreme fringe grouping of any movement is often steeped with shallow character and blaring with unfounded criticism. The ignorant have spoken, now it is time to move forward. The Tea Party is an embarrassment to the world and American history. I hope to leave this life without such a blemish on my own integrity.

    October 13, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. Chris

    Obama is pushing the American Taxpaying Citizens (that would be the citizens that make this country go) as hard as he can. He wants to force them to riot like his brothers and sisters so that he can order out the military to attack.

    October 13, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    FYI: Not all Texans are proud of this pathetic excuse for a Senator.

    October 13, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. DeboG

    They all should be jailed as traitors.

    October 13, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. kidzoloft

    Turn the hoses on these clowns.

    October 13, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. Kim

    Yeah how about putting that worthless bible down while you're at it? Because this country was not built on barbaric Christian practices and beliefs.

    October 13, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. Carter

    It's truly terrifying how far gone some people in this country are. When I ask myself how it could be that it is acceptable to stand in front of an audience and call the President a Muslim (despite all real evidence clearly pointing to his Christian heritage), I'm at a loss. When I ask myself how so many people can fundamentally misunderstand the policies and sequence of events that led to the shutdown, I'm at a loss.

    The only thing I can think of is that this is a direct result of Reagan having done away with the Fairness Doctrine in 1988. The Fairness Doctrine did away with the need for all broadcast news agencies to give all sides of an issue equal time. Rush Limbaugh started in '88 immediately after the fairness doctrine went away. "News" stations like Fox News (and MSNBC) couldn't exist in their current form if the fairness doctrine was still in place. In a complex world people need to rely on information sources that provide accurate and comprehensive information. People are being exposed to huge amounts of misinformation, and we are experiencing the result. Tragic.

    October 13, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. Kansas Liberal

    The Tea Party – The political equivalent of the Westboro Baptist Church

    October 13, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. Ctrygrl

    Mr. Obama won a stunning electoral victory AND got 5 million more votes than Mr. Romney. What do these people not understand about democracy. I find it interesting that this "peaceful" civil disobedience involved taking government property and moving it, interfering with government employees (taking the barricades away from them) and only one arrest was made. While in the republican controlled North Carolina Assembly peaceful protesters who merely stood and spoke were arrested in droves. Makes you wonder doesn't it.

    October 13, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  17. Joe Viera

    Dear God, when will these uneducated, sheep being led to slaughter by the wolves in sheep's clothing wake up and smell the foul of the stink that leads them?

    October 13, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. uraveragejoe

    Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz are money whores who are willing to destroy our country to put a few more dollars in their pockets. Seniors are their most vulnerable victims.

    October 13, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. Rachele W.

    The Tea Party–the dumbing down of US politics and culture incarnate.

    October 13, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  20. henry knox

    Nice to see real people finally standing up to the bullies in DC.

    October 13, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. ancv1992

    I'm conservative-leaning, but I'm embarrassed by this type of mean-spiritedness.

    October 13, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  22. Sir Craig

    Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz, and each and every one of these teaparty idiots are making me more and more embarrassed to call myself an American. When the government starts up again and people are allowed back into the memorials, do you think they are going to be impressed by the trash in the area because there was no one being paid to police up after the protestors? That's why the memorials are shut down: Not as a political stunt to keep people out but to keep maintenance costs down since no one is being paid, thanks to CONGRESS and not the President.

    I'm not sorry to say this is YOUR steaming bag of filth, GOP: You created it, you handle it, and if your big solution is dragging that brain-dead princess of yours out to enthrall the mindless masses you deserve the trouncing you'll receive in next year's mid-term elections.

    October 13, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  23. GWB

    This is absolutely ludicrous. These people don't deserve to be American citizens. They should have their citizenship revoked and be deported to Pakistan.

    October 13, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. Bob

    Obama is leading this country straight toward a civil war. Americans elected an incompetent, petulant child for president, and this is the results.

    October 13, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. JL

    Goes to show that extremist do live in all parts of the world.

    October 13, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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