October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
6 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 (2,571 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    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.

    October 13, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  2. Ryan

    These people are radicals. They are also ignorant, biased, misinformed, prejudice, and dishonest. I gather all of that from the video. What an embarassment. Go home and take a deep breath people.

    October 13, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  3. RoninAustinTx

    CNN's coverage is pathetic at best... Why focus on a few people who never even served and make fun of the fact it is hard to get one million World War II veterans to even be able to march on Washington! And the racists mongers both here and obviously at CNN who point out not that many Blacks at the rally! First Blacks had to fight their way into action in WWII but finally did it heavily in 1943-45 and their death rate after WWII took a toll on those survivors! So while there were indeed Black WWII Veterans in attendance, not in any large numbers! The fact that WWII Veterans showed up at all should be a sign that this attempt to use them to further one Parties cause over another is deplorable! Who in their right minds pays a heavy price to rent portable temporary fences and gates to close a Memorial Paid for by private citizens, erected on Open Land that was intended to remain open 24/7 365/366 with no Park Rangers or Park Attendants after hours? Wake up everyone this is a Staged drama where none existed! To purposely threaten to arrest 90 year old Veterans for walking into their Memorial is shameful! And you Democrats are proud of this? And you Republicans screw this crap! Fund all of Obamacare and let us see the true cost so we can decide if this is right for America or not! Neither side tells the truth! Like these old Veterans! We should march and demand the truth!

    October 13, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  4. Zayah V

    If we put aside the fact that this guy is clearly a racist NUT. I think he forgot that religious freedom is part of our constitution. These are the same people who want their old America back and we clearly know what they are talking about, when black people were just people they could avoid.

    October 13, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  5. chrys

    Hey Anonymous, that's why all the decent Republicans I know left the party...

    October 13, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  6. NameLindaHardge

    There are a lot of people who fought and died for and in this country. Sarah Palin need to go back to Alaska and continue hunting because she is a failure and so is her tea party followers. Veterans need to be reminded that the Rpublicans shut down the government not the President. Oops! I forgot that people that agree with Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin tend to live in a fantasty worldm

    October 13, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  7. Patriot

    I was at this event today and this article is misleading and downplays the significance of AMERICANS coming together to peacefully protest. Not just against Obama, but all the sitting members of congress, the senate and Obama. This was not a "conservative" event. This was veterans and people that support veterans coming together. The police tried shutting this peaceful protest down and that is why the ENTIRE group of people made their way down to the Lincoln Memorial, removed the barriers and brought MOST of the barriers down to the White House. We peacefully marched and were met at the WH with police in Riot gear with year gas. The Park Police proceeded to fly overhead for a good hour (wasting our hard earned tax money). Enough with taking political sides and please report FACTS and the TRUTH!!!!

    October 13, 2013 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  8. gahh

    This is the kind of people Cruz and Palin play to, ignorant. The last I heard, it was the Tea Party Republicans and the Koch Brothers that shutdown the federal government. The Koch's give millions to the Tea Party and Conservative Republicans, so they'll do what the Koch's say. Now that America is fed up with their crap, and their rating is at 5 percent, they want to blame Obama,

    Take a bow, and put the blame where it really belongs, on yourselves, Senator Cruz!

    October 13, 2013 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. MJW

    Nancy and not a liberal, thank God you are not. Liberals tend to be more intelligent and more open minded. The spectacle we saw today is a perfect example of how ignorant and insane these people are. They called for the government shutdown, now that it has happened they are the same ones rallying against it. If that is not a sin of madness I don't know what is. Are they really that stupid?

    October 13, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. Ajax

    That's right Tea party, shoot yourself in the other foot now by lining up with nutcases like Palin, Klayman and Bachmann. That's a good job.

    October 13, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. E'

    I guess it wan't a convincing enough lie for CNN to claim the rally was "demanding an end to the shutdown", they had to throw a little xenophobic jab in there just to be sure.

    Sock puppets, all of you.

    October 13, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Larry Klayman ==== disgusting. And you go to their website and what a different news story that they report. I was not a fan of the tea party before; now I am really really disgusted. We must boycott any advertiser of Glen Beck.

    October 13, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  13. Patti

    uh wait – the GOP basically shuts down the government and these morons are blaming Obama? Because he won't negotiate with the terrorist faction of the Republican party? I guess they think they get to close the government and then reopen the parts of the government THEY like.

    October 13, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Your reporting on this event is incorrect and disgusting. I won't be watching CNN anymore!

    October 13, 2013 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  15. Military Vet

    Did 20+ years service to this country, these people are against everything I was willing to defend! They are ignorant, they are not telling the truth, and they are just plain wrong. The Tea Party is 100% responsible for the shut down. The Tea Party is using street thug tactics, like extortion, to try and force the country to give in to their political demands for polices they could not win at the ballot box of a FREE NATION. Five soldiers died in combat last week, their families did not receive death benefits because the Tea Party shut down our government – and moderate republicans are to cowardly to fight them. As a retired member of the military this makes me extremely angry, and I am willing to put the blame where it truly belongs…on the Tea Party.

    October 13, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  16. Amir

    By mentioning the Quran, This guy proved that he is an idiot and no one should listen to him.

    October 13, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  17. barney rumble

    Call in a real statesman, Vladimir Putin, he can sort this thing out.

    October 13, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  18. Brett Husebye

    What in life is important. Is it having so much in life that your house blots out the sun? Your car cost 100000 dollars and goes from 0 to 6 in 3 seconds when there is no place to drive that fast? Is it having the most children? Is it being honest and paying your taxes or is it being dishonest and lying about your income? The squeeze on the upper crust is coming, and the middle class is no longer going to fund the good ole boys club. The poor are not going to fund it either. Pay your taxes Tea Party. Socialized healthcare is here if you want it or not. The young and healthy will pay for the old and decrepit. The numbers will equal out eventually. Prices for medications HAVE TO COME DOWN. One way or another. People in America are funding Research and Development for every American pharmaceutical company which is a vast majority of the useful R and D in the world. The prices charged to people overseas for our medications is less. WHY? Why cant we get those breaks here, today? My copays are so high on my current insurance if I paid cash I could get almost the same deal and be treated by the doctor with more respect. Prices need to come down for healthcare in general, all the toys you bought for your McMansions, you cant take them with you when you pass into the afterlife but as greedy as some people are, its not surprising some haven't tried.

    October 13, 2013 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  19. A.J.

    So whats wrong for the president to be a Muslim or we just become a racist nation just like Germany in WWII when they discrimenate against Jews. Way to go for our freedom

    October 13, 2013 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. Bob

    The same crazies making these lunatic remarks are the ones who've shut down the government and are threatening to blow up the economy.

    October 13, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  21. Bobby Ray

    The idea that Obama would toss on the towel on the Affordable Care Act (his biggest legislative accomplishment) in exchange for keeping the government open for 6 weeks couldn't have been believable even to the Tea Party crowd. Then to say he is selectively closing memorials and parks when everything is closed and to accuse him of being a non citizen Muslim shows the intellectual level of that rabidly right wing cabal.

    October 13, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  22. ill

    woooo! let that unjustified misguided and useful hate out...

    October 13, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  23. coffee over tea

    the Tea Party at the very beginning of conception, had some ideals that I understood, and even had some agreement with. As time has gone on, they have morphed into something unrecognizable,and along with the republican party, have become downright disgusting. I am an open minded democrat, that doesn't always agree with what my party does, and also listens to other parties ideals and values.... but the past year or two has been churning my stomach. it astounds me that the people responsible for all of these problems and destruction, have the audacity to try and act like they are the saviour from the chaos they have created, the extremists have to go, re-open Alcatraz, ship them all over there, and let them play psychotic/ sociopathic government games with themselves, and let leave America alone, so we can function again q u

    October 13, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  24. DP

    Raillier – an individual that is a sad "by product" of misinformation, ignorance, gullibility and weakness (when all else fails play the race/religion card).

    October 13, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  25. Cadu

    Poor Obama...I do not know how he can handle this crisis not only with the congress but with the ignorant people who relentless want to tell everyone that he is a Muslim and he is not.

    October 13, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
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