October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
11 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. judith

    This shows what's wrong with the prejudiced, vicious, and lying Tea-publicans. They've tried to crucify Obama ever since he was elected–they simply don't accept the result of democratic elections.

    October 14, 2013 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  2. BWitches

    Every day I am more and more convinced that the Tea Party And their minions are "Brown Shirts" marching to the order of the Koch Brothers and their cronies. I feel their disrespect for the office of the Presidency is appalling and their extremism is dangerous to the stability of our country.
    Wake up America! Stop drinking the Corporate Kool Aid!!!

    October 14, 2013 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  3. Joe Irish

    Could the reporting on this event be any more bias ?? These reporters are clearly liberal ...they should be ashamed of their inability to report facts without their liberal slant.

    October 14, 2013 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  4. LincolnX

    Shameful, but what else do you expect from an event with Palin and Cruz?

    October 14, 2013 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  5. Namecwife

    It is intriguing that's so many want to attack the Tea Party and not recognize our president is responsible to lead our country. he has divided the nation so that he can look good. those of you blaming the Tea Party should also be open to looking at your president... we are dealing withhis debt and his poor leadership. it is time to unite

    October 14, 2013 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  6. Bob

    Amazing. I was at the speeches this morning and CNN picks the one "nutcase" to show on their website. And, of course, you're "fair and balanced" reporters! What a bunch of crap. No wonder no one listens to you anymore.

    October 14, 2013 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  7. Robert N. constant

    It should be clear to all that the Republican Party has been captured by the escaped inmates of a madhouse. This "million man march" that drew hundreds, not hundreds of thousands is the dregs of humanity. Republican Conservatives must have scoured the entire US to come up with such a concentration of intellectually challenged clowns. Open Racism, Levels of misinformation bordering the ridiculous, and so much blind irrational hatred are astounding. These are the supporters of the Republican Party. These are the people on your side if you vote Republican. Most of them should be in a cage.

    October 14, 2013 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  8. clutch

    Why do some of you continue to defend this president? You've all lost your minds.

    October 14, 2013 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  9. Obama supporter

    Unreal that any human being with a brain would blame this on Obama. Cruz instigates the shutdown, with political aspirations, and then tries to point the finger at Obama and the Democrats as if they has anything to do with it. Obamacare was passed by Congress and ratified by the Supreme Court!!! Deal with it!!! It's like children crying "do over" when they've lost in kickball. You can't have it both ways. To blame this shutdown on Obama is despicable.

    October 14, 2013 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  10. NeoPrudentists

    To all you conservatives out there: This kind of protest is not helping your cause.

    October 14, 2013 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  11. Mohamiss Shafique-Kaddir

    Obama should be holding Koran . Its the word of Allah unto the Prophet Mohammid ( PBuH ) . Islam is the only clear and holy way of life . Obama needs to ebrace his Islamist heratige , and bring America into enlightenment by decalring America , Islamist . America needs Islam more now then ever before , Islam is the only way for America to be free . The American Muslim Brotherhood advises Obama , and soon , after Obama declared emergency powers , will use Obamacare to make sure everyone is Muslim . Inshallah Allah will soon be the final authority for Amerrica .

    October 14, 2013 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  12. ex dem

    The Democratic Party is absolutely shameful. Quit spending my "hard earned" tax money on 70% "non-essential" government clowns. You are all worthless whining, unaccountable, scheming, POS. Keep on spending our money on your worthless agendas. You are the demise of our country.

    October 14, 2013 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Such a hateful place. It's nice to see us living up to the hateful people we are to the world. I'm a veteran and I've seen just as much ignorance and racist hate from my fellow veterans ass I've seen anywhere else. We should be called the decided states because the only thing that united us is hate.

    October 14, 2013 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  14. Keith of Colorado

    Americans are insane.

    October 14, 2013 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  15. Mohamiss Shafique-Kaddir

    Obama should be holding Koran . Its the word of Allah unto the Prophet Mohammid ( PBuH ) . Islam is the only clear and holy way of life . Obama needs to ebrace his Muslim heratige , and bring America into enlightenment by declaring America , Muslim . America needs Islam more now then ever before , Islam is the only way for America to be free . The American Muslim Brotherhood advises Obama , and soon , after Obama declared emergency powers , will use Obamacare to make sure everyone is Muslim . Inshallah Allah will soon be the final authority for America .

    October 14, 2013 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  16. Citizen

    I hear a lot of people using hateful language.... Look in a mirror and focus on the problem!

    October 14, 2013 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  17. Name Military Vet

    Remember Soldiers swore an Oath...against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC.......and I consider obama a DOMESTIC ONE

    October 14, 2013 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  18. Angela

    Offensive!!! Anyone who knows anything about our government knows that in order to run for President one must be American Born. This crap is hate, nothing more. First, these assholes want his birth certificate, then they cannot find his school transcripts, now they use people's ignorance as a basis to suggest President Obama is a Muslim. Hate is not the future. I am so disgusted. M

    October 14, 2013 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  19. Mohamiss Shafique-Kaddir

    Obama soon will make America , Sharia compliant . Inshallah Allah shall have his revenge .

    October 14, 2013 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  20. John

    Why all the hate?

    October 14, 2013 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  21. Elliot

    Lots of things are shut down as a result of the government shutdown and if were not for Cruz and people like Palin, the government would be open.

    October 14, 2013 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  22. Bobby singh

    We should have the GOP and the tea party work at the parks since they are getting paid and not doing their job. Veterans need to understand this mess was created by the Tea party not by the WH.

    October 14, 2013 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  23. clutch

    Look at all the cowards here. The weak people. The sheep. The submissive pacifists who probably can't look you directly in the eye out in the street. But they will call you every name in the book online.

    October 14, 2013 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  24. suresure

    yea... because memorials don't need to be maintained or anything. Because people trouncing around, littering, knocking things over expecting others to come clean up after them for free sounds perfectly reasonable to these people. Those memorials are maintained by people who are no longer getting paid. The next thing you know they'll be crying how Obama didn't keep the grounds primly kept and bemoaning how it once looked so nice. I didn't know the tea party expected the rest of the nation to cater just to them. Because that's exactly how it sounds.

    October 14, 2013 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  25. JulianCA

    As far as I know, Obama has authorized the killing (through drone strikes and such) of more Muslims than all the Tea Partiers combined. It is pretty amusing to see people so racist and bigoted that they feel that a blatant fabrication is an important talking point ...

    October 14, 2013 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
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