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.
I find it refreshing that there are people out there willing to take a stance on what they believe in. Like our Veterans. For anyone on the site to make fun of hem, I say shame on you.
It seems so odd that at one time I actually was a Republican. This gang of fools is not the party that I used to defend. A toast to gerrymandering!
Tommy, Obama didn't close anything. It's your nutcase buddies in the House who have effectively closed down the government. Placing the blame on Obama might make you feel good, but then that only means that you can't handle the truth.
The tea party is ruining this country.
They are in the minority.
So they use any means other than democratic to get their way.
Jefferson owner a Quran.
Taxman... if it is true that Obama is not an american... the system really sucks... he, Obama, got to be president... it has been said that "you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't foo all the people all of the time"... except, of course the ones that fool themselves...
What does being a muslim got to do with all this?
We need a President for the people, by the people. He seems more of a dictator, it's like he saying my way or the highway. It is time he hit the highway and everyone in the White House that does not want to take care of our Country and work together. This is not a chess game in the White House to see which side is going to win. United we stand and divided we fall. If they can all work together for the greater good of the best Country (USA) in the world they need to turn over the White House to the Men and Women of this Country who will work together.
Lol this isn't serious is it? Way to go Tea Party
The Guns Over People tea potty continue to fade away from reality daily
Remember the protests against the Vietnam war and the conservative response, "America, love it or leave it." The TP has earned that as an appropriate response to their radicalism. If all they can do is believe their own lies about who is responsible for the shut-down, they have lost all credibility. They clearly do not love America if they are willing to endanger the economy for the sake of scoring points against the President that they cannot beat in an election.
tommy... what evidence do you have of that? There is a check and balance between the three branches... one alone cannot do anything... don't blame the President... besides, who stood for 21 hours and then voted in favor of?
Congrats to the people that fell for the CNN spin, you have shown that you do not comment or vote intelligently. If you want to disrespect our veterans then I see no reason for them to protect you anymore.
Looks more like a "Couple Hundred Pi$$ed Off White Folks Against a Black Man in Their White House" rally to me.
Hey CNN where were you when the Illegal immigrants were protesting backed by Nancy Pelosi? Yet, this is considered hateful and craziness on behalf of veterans and republicans? It was OKAY for ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS to rally and protest against the nation with little to no police force being used because the constitution covers their first amendment? NO IT DOESNT, THEY ARE NOT CITIZENS, furthermore the fact that CNN and the people who read this will only come to view it as "tea party crazies, republican anarchists etc" is asinine. So its crazy for American citizens to protest but when Illegal Aliens do it is accepted and backed by Pelosi and her golf-cart riding friends in the Senate? Am I the only one who views this as being INSANITY?
The TP wants anarchy so they have an excuse to come out shooting and attempt to take over the country. They are following the path of the National Socialists in 1930's Germany.
Honestly, its not right to criticize someone who is trying to do the American people right. Just because Obama's religious preferences happen to be Muslim does not mean he is not for the American people. He tried passing a bill for we as blue collar workers can afford health care for our families. Just because our republican party wanted to hold off on launching it another year and it was refused they refused to fund certain parts of government. Then when yhey said we will reopen if were given the rest or the year off and paid for it. BS. Do we as any blue collar workers get 3 months off with pay no so why should they get that. Before you judge look at all sides and leave people's religious beliefs alone.
At one time people actually thought of the USAGE as being a great country, who knew?
OMG! So absurd I'm laughing to keep from crying. Hey Tea Party – were not laughing with you – we're laughing AT YOU!
"Put down the Quran"? Really? Is that really what this story was about? Couldn't create a more biased headline, I guess. CNN, yellow journalism at its best.
USA that is
It events like this that convince me that we are getting dangeroulsy close to being too stupid to continue a representative form of government.
Sounds about right. Obama is Nixonian.
Why did you even bother to report this event? It was a poorly attended non-event.
It would appear that this rally has things somewhat reversed. It was Ted Cruz and his lemmings that shut down the
government while trying to change an existing law by using a form of economic terrorism.....sounds much more like
a playbook from radical islamists. Not the Quran. Economic threats is not the way laws are changed in a democracy.
The inmates are truly running the asylum called the GOP. I think Lincoln must be shedding tears to see what has become
of his party