October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
12 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. davel

    The ignorance in these crowds is just astounding. Unfortunately it seems that some of the dumbest among us make the loudest noise......

    October 13, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    ONLY Congress has the power to close the government.
    .
    ONLY Congress has the power to open the government.
    .
    We do NOT live in a dictatorship.

    October 13, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  3. Leah DiMarco

    Cruz and the republicans shut down the government and then they cry about it.
    Wake up America – the republicans are trying to ruin our country.

    October 13, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  4. Joe Silva

    Dude, I'm sure saying that made people take you seriously.

    October 13, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  5. Common sense

    The tea party came about as a pushback for the extreme left. The further left obama goes the further right the tea party goes and any extreme position is destructive. Vote them all out from Ted Cruz to Harry Reid and keep or elect moderates.

    October 13, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  6. Sir Cecil

    "Put the Quran down"?
    Do the people who used those words today care that many American war dead were readers of the Quran? And that many people paying respects at the Memorial, to family members who died defending this country, hold a Quran as they do so?

    October 13, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  7. headloc

    Tea Party is the new American Terrorist party. If they had their way every black,asian,mexican and yeah florida browns will be burnt alive as Cruz speaks

    October 13, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  8. KennyLLC

    What did Obama and Osama Bin Laden have in common?
    A: They both had friends who bombed the Pentagon.

    Looks to me like he is just making more friends.

    October 13, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  9. Anon

    oh, and the last time i checked, it's not illegal to be non-Christian in America, according to the Constitution "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." but that has nothing to do with both sides of congress being childish. i'm just saying.

    October 13, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  10. Jim Rome

    Now this is reality show material.

    October 13, 2013 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  11. bakslider

    Gee. The TP refuses to pay the salaries of those who work in our national parks and monuments, they are furloughed and somehow it is Obama's fault? Gee if the clean budget bill comes up for a vote on the House floor, it will pass. Not the outcome the TP wants so they throw a hissy-fit.

    They will never get the concept of majority rule because, plainly, they are not and never will be the voice of the majority of Americans. Sore losers and they better get used to at least the "loser" part. The TP's "hey its no big deal" attitude reminds me of the old joke: What's a redneck's last words? "Hey ya'll check this out!"

    October 13, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  12. Confused in the UK

    So this is how democracy works.....and I believe this process is being forced onto the rest of the world. Nice! I've discovered more about American politics in the last few weeks than I ever have, and some of you are right. The US has just as many crackpots as the rest of us....it's refreshing, it's uplifting and really is a breath of fresh air. Too many times other countries around the world have aired their dirty laundry in the public eye, it's good to see that the US can join us down here. I say....let it continue. Shows that you're human after all.

    October 13, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  13. G. Flint

    So far off the map they could never find their way back to reality. Send in the white coats and straight jackets, there are nut cases wondering around in DC--again.

    October 13, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  14. Fred Ziffle

    Tea Party this and Tea Party that, just look at what the president is doing. Divide and conquer is his motto. He coined the term "Tea Baggers" and other street thug terminology. What can you expect from a punk from the hood? We need to impeach this useless guy.

    October 13, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  15. zeyn2010

    That's what being brainwashed does to a person!

    October 13, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  16. McBek

    I can't believe some people can be so ignorant. Where have they been? in caves? When the Tea party representatives shut the government, didn't they know the federal government would not have funds to open the parks? If they care, they should call on the Speaker to put a clean CR to vote. I think I'm done voting for Republican candidates.

    October 13, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  17. ptown

    Tea Party rally AKA: Clan meeting

    October 13, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  18. Adescato

    I guess Obama's quote about Americans "clinging to their religion" was much better. Did CNN mention that one to you loons?

    October 13, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  19. KennyLLC

    What did Obama and Osama Bin Laden have in common.
    A: They both had friends who bombed the Pentagon.

    He is trying to make more of the same friends.

    October 13, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  20. Irskan

    this is the gop clown circus writ large...

    October 13, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  21. doc

    So did any of the responsible elected officials try to correct the errant claim that the President is a Muslim? I thought not. Not that it matters.This is the United States of America where freedom of religion is constitutionaly protected. I guess the 2nd ammendment is the only one that counts to them.

    October 13, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  22. DC954

    & The Tea Party wonders why they're called bigots & racist.

    October 13, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  23. EC

    Please stop referring to these idiots as conservatives. What exactly are they conserving? They are nihilists bordering on anarchists.

    It's rich, isn't it, that Ted Cruz showed up to protest the shutdown of a memorial caused by his hissy fit from just a few weeks ago, which left the government without funds to keep memorials open.

    October 13, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  24. allenwoll

    Just as "ordinary Muslims" are guilty of crime against humanity for not suppressing their Radical Extremists, so are "ordinary Republicans" guilty of political crimes against the American people for not suppressing the Tea Partiers, Palin, Cruz, the lot ! !

    October 13, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  25. mentallect

    He really wanted to say something about Obama needing to pick cotton, or something about his birth certificate, but settled for the Kenyan Muslim slur. I am glad most white people are not hateful tea party racists.

    October 13, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
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