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.
All of you sheep blindly following Obama have bought the lies the "media" have told you about the Tea Party. Name one incident where a Tea Party rally turned violent. Give me a link of Tea Partiers with signs showing Obama's brains blown out like anti-war protesters had during the Bush years. Or show me an effigy of Obama swinging from a noose like Bush was during those same anti war protests. You want to talk about hate and violence just research those democratic demonstrations during the Bush years, you'll be shocked.
"A crowd of conservatives"...really???? You call THAT unbiased reporting?? What I see is a "crowd of Veterans", all protesting the same thing. Did you poll each one of them to find out what their political party was? Talk about baiting people...CNN..you really take the cake. Unbelievable... These were AMERICANS who were protesting against the government..how do you claim to know each one's political party.
As a Veteran I'm disgusted. This is hypocritical theater.
And shame on anyone who would take a stage with racists like Larry Klayman and Freedom Watch. If this President was white they wouldn't use such hateful and bigoted nonsense.
This obama is not a christian neither a muslim because we christians and muslims both are against gay marriage which is an abomination Leviticus 18 and Roman 1 so who does he believe in???????.
Obama is a disgusting example of a human being. Anti-American and anti-military. The worst president ever....and I hope he is removed from office. NOW!
I'm black,but looking at the facts. Lot of what they are saying is true. Obama only cares more about his Muslim brother hood and other countries. Than America and her people. If you can't see that. This country is surely doomed. He's giving food stamps and aid to Illegal Mexican immigrants.Tax payers pay to feed them and their medical cost. In no other country will you see Illegals getting anything.
How ignorant can people get. Cruz, who has proven his lack of leadership abilities, somehow coerces Americans to protest, all on his behalf. Blind leading the blind right over a National Park. If the National Park is a government facility that is affected by the shutdown, then it should remain closed, along with Cruz's mouth.
As I listen to this guy,more Latinos lost their lives than most....this person is using propaganda.....you can say whatever you want too say......
What a pitiful group of hate mongers.
The scary thing is that they vote and procreate.
This definitely does not work for the tea party's favor with Sarah Palin supporting it.
I used to think people were wrong about CNN but after evading this article I realize CNN is so slanted toward Obama and his party. I was at the rally in DC today and yes there was a lot of politicians jumping on the band wagon but this was a veterans rally made up of 99.9% veterans who only wanted to say leave us out of the political bargaining and power struggle. We fought for our country and some died so we have earned the respect to be left out of it. Also regardless of who is to blame for the shut down veterans are not stupid. Obama went out of his way to shut down open air memorials and it is wrong. Most veterans are strait shooters. If you did it then you take the back lash. Sad CNN can not report news as news and not try to push their agenda.
"Put down the Quran"? Seriously?
Tea Party is American Taliban.
Those people look so lovely wrapped in their bubble, said no one ever.
Obama isn't an American...but Cruz is?
This make it hurt from Obama has to stop – his Chicago politics are hurting the common man and we know that he is responsible for this! Ted Cruz speaks his mind and tells it like it is – thankfully he doesn't bow down and pay tribute like Obama or to him!
The government is too large and needs trimming. Is it REALLY hurting us if left alone – NO!
Only Obama makes it hurt us!
Obama is the only man I know to be accused of being both a radical Christian and a Muslim. Reading a Quran isn't against the law btw even if he was Muslim.
This rally was for the opening of these memorials THEIR memorials created in honor of vets. These vets have a right to be pissed. The republican party have offered several proposals that have been denied by Obama. The premise of negotiation and compromise is both sides giving a little, what have the democrats given? What have they contributed to fix the issue?
P.S. To those of you saying its not very "ethnically diverse" or "old farts" I am a 16 year old Hispanic male and I am very disappointed in the future you are all leaving us
It scares me how many truly stupid people there are in this country. Palin, Cruz, some people posting here, the moron talking about the Koran ..... crikey, I'm surprised this ilk can operate buttons.
The Republican party has been taken over by the ignorant "simple folk/ townspeople" who don't even know why they hate Obama. Rush Limbaugh is the founding father of this new Republican party. Limbaugh, the drug addict with the high school diploma. They hate Obama because he is "Muslim" and has no birth certificate even though he is not a Muslim and does have a US birth certificate. They hate him because he is a liberal. Well, if you hate him, run a good candidate for the next election. You had good candidates but you either hate their intellect (Jon Huntsman) or their open-mindedness or hate their moderate-ness (the old John McCain). No, you push them to the far right, to be closed minded.
I'm going to enjoy meeting you Lefties in the streets. Got my shillelagh and my boys ready to thump socialist skulls. We'll win because we're not vegans.
CNN, your perspective on this rally is breathtaking, truly. It is dishonest to try to portray what happened as the efforts of frenzied, extreme crazies. Shameful. Would you have portrayed a Sharpton rally in the same way? These people have legitimate concerns, whether you agree with the veterans or not. These people are offended at the way that Obama and the Democrats have (from their point of view) used them, and our historical monuments, as leverage in a protracted political fight. Very disappointing and dishonest slant to your coverage.
The White House was wrong to shutdown the memorials and any other vet related site. The Republicans and Tea Party people making the decision to try to cut funding for health care out of the budget were also wrong. Plenty of blame to go around no matter what office they hold.
"“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."
Who the heck supports this? What is this? A conspiracy theorists get together? The public is laughing at this I'm sure. I am.
There have been 17 government shut downs, the last one under Clinton, and NEVER have the memorials and monuments been closed before now. As hard as the Left tries to blame the Right, that's just not possible. That order has to come from the White House. But that won't stop the Left from trying to shift blame. Yes, people are angry. On both sides. And the rhetoric on both sides is just sad and disappointing. This country has never been more divided. And that falls squarely at the feet of the person who sets the tone for all Americans. The person we put in the White House.