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.
Atleast we know how many brainless republicans are there in that Washington area
Veterans smeterans! Who cares. "using" the veterans to further your anti-Obama rants is no better than that what you accuse Obama of. Closing down the national monuments, I could care less. Fake issues for Fake Americans to claim Fake outrage. If it weren't the veterans they would find some other group to try to make their lame, baseless claims.
We Americans are embarrassing ourselves to the entire world.
Just when you thought that the Republican party brand couldn't be damaged any further....
You are always against the tea party, but you praised the occupymovement. The difference is the tea party has to do things on the weekends because of jobs, and the occupy movement was paid by the left to take over cities. I'll put my faith behind the tea party. The closing of Washington was not done under previous shut downs, just under this vindictive president.
Someone opened the cages at the national zoo, and look at where all the monkeys ended up.
million man looked like a few thousand .The most unpopular but also most vocal of the far fringes of the political parties trying their hardest to convince the majority of their views but in the process alienates them even further.
Given that there is an integrated fighting force, this crowd seems unusually uniform, shall we say.
Let's face it, this is a GOP/Tea Party affair and if they are trying to broaden the appeal of the GOP, they are doing a spectacular job at failing.
I would love to get Larry Klayman down in the ground, tie him up, and fuck him up his ass for 3 hours straight making him say I love you Barack before I cut off his dick and stuck it in his mouth.
If veterans should be above politics what are some veterans doing in a political rally? duh!!
The GOP shuts down the government and are proud of it. These guys are only displaying their own ignorance, on sooooooo many levels.
I thought the Tea Party was the stronghold of petulant, partisan selfish people.
Now it seems Obama co. is competing for that honor.
Suppose a veteran had saved and saved to visit Yellowstone National Park. Wouldn't he or she have the right to see that? When the Republicans decided to shut down the government as a legislative tactic, they shut down all the parks. They cannot choose which ones to shut down or open as a political ploy.
Don in Toronto almost had it right, but then he blew it. Yes, there was no doubt a contingent of mindless drones at the rally, but they are closely akin to the mindless drones on this blog who took the author's bait. The author ("reporter" is being too kind) elected to highlight the most inflammatory rhetoric, and the drones on this blog took the bait, hook, line, and sinker. Most self-identified Tea Partiers are individuals who fervently believe that this federal government is bloated, corrupt, and ineffective. What is so outrageous about that? On this issue, it is impossible for any reasonable person to assert that Obama did not purposefully go out of his way to spend additional federal monies to close down these memorials, and others across the country, which is really pathetic. He knows he is winning by making the shut down look severe. However, a drone is not a reasonable person, so the lefties don't see it. So, Don, I am with you in condemning the inflammatory "Obama is a Muslim" nonsense, but you and your buddies on the other side of this issue really ought to look at yourselves in the mirror. These rapid assaults on the Tea Party are the same thing as the ad hominem Obama attacks. Sad you drones can't see it.
The disrespect these so-called patriots exhibit is based in racism. To them, Obama is "not one of us"; he is an outsider who has coerced his way into the White House. After all, he does not look like any of our hero presidents from the past, right? I hope someday, like Don Quixote, they will look into the mirror and realize they have created their own false reality.
Its called FREEDOM......they fought for yours and mine and I FULLY SUPPORT these vets! They are PATRIOTS so Shut your mouths and show some respect!!!!!!!
Good for them!
When you are unable to outwit or outsmart our POTUS call hi a Muslim. What a bunch of stupid people saying that about the president with aCuban Canadian present WOW...
This just keeps getting weirder and weirder. These people are so maddeningly stupid.
I see a lot of hate in the photo; a lot of hate in the speech; and more in the demonstrators actions. These people want to call out the President for being a Muslim or at least a non-Christian. I say go look in a mirror and start searching out your own soul all ye pretenders of the faith.
Obama is a Muslim, Not Christian. He is the worst case scenario for the U.S. His unwarranted arrogance and non-stop partisan rherotics are so out of line. He makes me want to puke -he's nothing but embarassment.
How do the Dreamers and democrats get arrested for protesting and these scum bags don't.
These bigots are the worst of America. They are a minority that have gerrymandered their way into power in the House. Their goal is the destruction of the United States government as that they know the demographic future of this nation further pushes them into the minority. If they can't have America... no one can. Traitors, every one.
Thank you sir for telling the president what the rest of the nation is thinking. Yes me. President please put that Koran down!
I am always amazed by how people are told that laws and rules are meant to be obeyed (especially by Republicans) then when they disagree with something, they push through barriers. I strongly believe there are many more important items that need to be funded than the parks and memorials of this country. i.e. vets' disabiltiy and retirement payments, social security among others. We all are for cuts unless it affects us.
That Cruz and Palin were even at this gathering shows a complete lack of judgment. God help us!!!