October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
1 year 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. Jim Weix

    Considering that it is the Republicans that are causing the shut down, I'm not sure why the ultra-right is blaming Obama.
    The ultra-right, tea party, and extremist religious right groups, are a danger to all Americans. Nazi Germany saw the same types when Hitler was in power.

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

    Promoting a niche of inciting members is what got them into disfavor in the first place. Some people never learn.

    October 13, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  3. Mike W

    Nice spin, CNN. Over on Twitter, people can see the real photos: veterans in wheelchairs carrying barricades to the White House. Veterans angry about being blocked from national memorials is the story, but you'll take any opportunity to jump to "tea party." Sad.

    October 13, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. Ken

    Wait, so the people who want less government are protesting for more government now?

    October 13, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  5. Lou Lange

    What the Tea Party seems to forget that ALL SIDES are to blame for this shutdown – The President, Democrats, AND Republicans. The Tea party can try to lay this at the feet of 1600 PA Ave all they want, but remember there are 535 members of Congress that make and pass the laws. Think long and hard about that.

    October 13, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. MyNameIsMud

    Put the Quran down? Really?

    October 13, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. Art

    And these groups wonder why they were targeted by the I.R.S. I would imagine most terrorist groups would be targeted by the I.R.S.

    This is why you Tea Party crazies won't ever win a general election. It's because of rhetoric such as this. The Tea Party is a just another name for The Christian Coalition. The only difference is that they claimed to have read two things instead of one – The Bible and The Constitution. Pity they think that The Bible and The Constitution were written by the same people. LOL! What a bunch of pathetic, droll twits you Yanks have bred in these in these wannabe patriots.

    October 13, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. USA #0

    Americans must be so proud. where are the shouts of USA! USA! USA!!!

    October 13, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  9. Ted Wu, Los Angeles

    If we were looking for citizens that act like traitors, there were plenty of them at this "Tea Party-like" rally in D.C. Of course we should not take these childish idiots seriously and just hope they will fade away.

    October 13, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. bbellomy

    Maybe those people need to put their "Stupid" down!

    October 13, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. lean6

    So many of these soccer moms have no idea what they're signing up for with the tea party facade. When they're caught in the cross fire of the puppet master's race war, they'll start to understand.

    October 13, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. motorfirebox

    Remember, though, the Tea Party isn't racist. Just ask them.

    October 13, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. leetz

    If Obama is a Muslim, then dropping as many bombs as he has on Muslim countries sure is a strange way of showing it.

    October 13, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. wazuri77

    Sadly, the republicans in the picture, purporting to help the veterans, are the same people who want to privatize their social security and medicare.

    October 13, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. Toltec1

    What will become of us,"We the people"? For many years I felt frustrated, just as the folks at the above rally are. Most all of the candidates I supported were defeated at the polls. I did the only thing I could, I had to accept the will of the majority. Now the tide is turning and I see that the folks who are used to having things their way are not very good at accepting. I don't understand why people believe that their perceptions and opinions are the "right and only" way. I would be just as angry and disgusted if the dems were pulling this stunt. As Ricki Riccardo would say, " AYE-YI-YI CARRUMBA!" Peace

    October 13, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  16. David

    Tea Party = TREASON

    October 13, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. Sgt Gonzalez

    It is sad how this people are being led by the tea party. I have seen John McCain and Bill Oreily tell other republicans that this teaparty movement is what is hurting this great Nation of ours. A Bill got pass and they want to try to block it by refunding it! It doeant work that way... Open your eyes people!

    October 13, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  18. Conjuring Cat

    Wow. Who'd'a thunk that the Tealiban wants all the monuments open, but doesn't want to pay the staff who has to work there. The TRUE something-for-nothing crowd...

    October 13, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  19. Max

    Uhm....hey guys, it was your own people NOT Obama that engineered the shut down.....k class dismissed

    October 13, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. Jim

    What do you expect from a bunch of schizophrenic, uneducated, ignorant and conspiracy constipated whackos? Tea Party will hopefully be history soon... just like the John Birch whackos!

    October 13, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. Does it matter

    Stupid Republicans living in stone age. They will just damage the country more and are really no good. Someone need to wake these people up maybe a taser should be used LOL.

    October 13, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. Impeach

    We have had enough of Obamas crap, wake up soon kids the party is starting!

    October 13, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  23. Bombastus

    This is sad. It's sad how ignorant these poor people are and how little understanding of how the American government is suppose to work. They talk about the constituion and founding fathers and have no clue on our history. Perhaps worst of all is the thread of racism in all of this. On the up side the tea party is probably the last hurrah for this wing of the republican party. If they succeed in nominating a Cruz or similar type, they will effectively help elect the next democratic president Then the GOP will have to get serious about resurrecting the party of Eisenhower.

    October 13, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  24. gstlab3

    I'm glad somebody showed up.,
    I cannot afford to travel so far.,
    but I am glad to spread the word where I am and where I am going.

    October 13, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  25. djsteviemac

    This is a Republican shut down NOT an Obama shut down !

    October 13, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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