October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
6 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 (2,571 Responses)
  1. Mike MacKinnon

    The racist lie calling the President Muslim, the vile, un-Christian blasphemy of questioning the faith he's demonstrated repeatedly, the corrupt exploitation of veterans while refusing to acknowledge that they not only caused the shutdown but are doing everything to lock in support from the loons who think it's a good thing, the criminal destruction of the barriers including yanking them away from police, the truly ugly facts of what the conservative movement and what you accomplish by voting Republican on display...while they gut programs for the needy, and poverty kills more Americans.

    October 14, 2013 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  2. beth

    With this idiots, now i know what Lincoln meant when he said, no outside enemy will destroy America, but its own people who stand for self destruction. How could anyone live with them leave alone to vote for them.Unless we the people do something about these tea party members, America will be like the roman empire – reduced to nothing

    October 14, 2013 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  3. Ken

    CNN, you discust me by even writing a story like this! The country is really hurting now and does not need you to spread this garbage. Just proves that you are just a milder version of FOX. Well, your sensational headline got me to read your trash so I guess that proves your case.

    October 14, 2013 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  4. Good Morning Stars

    It's been a shame show off in the public...

    October 14, 2013 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  5. JimBean

    Why Cruz and Palin... Put some actual combat vets in the house to speak for us vets.

    October 14, 2013 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  6. mark

    Earlier this week, several liberal members of congress were arrested at a protest...Why were there no arrests here? Why no tear gas or pepper spray or cops with clubs and dogs?
    If this had been a group of liberals or Occupiers, I guarantee there would have been all of the above.

    Liars leading idiots while the media tells us both sides are the same and both at fault.

    We DO need a revolution but from the left, not the right.

    October 14, 2013 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  7. Garbage

    Just look at these people! They look like useless, trashy people. These clowns have a say? Get a new set of clothes, stop dressing like the show " my redneck wedding" and maybe, just maybe people might not look down on you, and take you seriously.

    October 14, 2013 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  8. Pig in a Poke

    What a tool bag, making claims that Obama is Muslim is like me making a claim that most Tea Partiers are racist.
    Things that make you go Hummmm, Alex

    October 14, 2013 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  9. Mike

    "put the Quran down..." Hey pal, YOU'RE the guy who's preoccupied with the Quran, not the President.

    October 14, 2013 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Obama is NOT muslim. I don't care if he's white/purple/yellow with polka dots or black. The fact he closed OPEN AIR monuments was a political ploy...that's all. It wasn't due to some bs government shut down, he wanted the people of the US to feel like we lose everything without the feds. Some of the points made at the rally were very legitimate, but they are ALL lost due to the idiocy of these speeches about the Quran and him being a muslim, or anything related to his skin color. You have some good points...nobody will ever hear them because you approach everything like idiots..

    October 14, 2013 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  11. Rob

    Obama is NOT muslim. I don't care if he's white/purple/yellow with polka dots or black. The fact he closed OPEN AIR monuments was a political ploy...that's all. It wasn't due to some bs government shut down, he wanted the people of the US to feel like we lose everything without the feds. Some of the points made at the rally were very legitimate, but they are ALL lost due to the idiocy of these speeches about the Quran and him being a muslim, or anything related to his skin color. You have some good points...nobody will ever hear them because you approach everything like idiots..

    October 14, 2013 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  12. Thomas

    Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch , Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin .

    It's funny when tea party quotes Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr .

    There are no people of color at the rally, billed as the "Million Vet March on the Memorials .

    October 14, 2013 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  13. yowsa

    OMG! Did I just watch that video? Yep, it was the bloc of older angry white people that didn't vote for the President. Distorting facts and falsifying truth thinking it will help their cause. Using religion? OMG!

    October 14, 2013 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  14. sick

    If these idiots are doing this in the name of Veterans and are representative, then I have no respect for our Vets.

    October 14, 2013 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  15. Proud republican

    Thank God for people like Cruz and Palin. America's only hope against Obama and his idiot puppets.

    October 14, 2013 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  16. Name Uche Agonsi

    The voices are the voices of Republicans the banner the Veterans. Its dirty and unpleasant that these Veterans should be chaosed into politically dangerous posturings by the very people who cause them miseries. They should neither see themselves as untouchables nor think that they would receive sympathy from people by supporting the wrong courses and ideas. Its on records this President has done great things for them.........stopping reckless wars and assisting them in every possible manner he could, and even hosting them in dinners. Its silly and very callous for these Veterans to team up with Repubs that caused their problems against the finger that feeds them.

    October 14, 2013 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  17. Kyle

    And this folks is the kind of crazy the republican party has decided to cater to.

    October 14, 2013 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  18. eric

    Put the bible down

    October 14, 2013 03:11 am at 3:11 am |
  19. Robert

    There's a certain aspect about these Republican protests that's almost comical. They start out with "Veterans!" and "End the Shutdown!", and for a minute, I could almost find myself agreeing with them. Then they yell "Drop the Quran!" and I think, "Oh wait, I forgot! They don't actually have a point, they're just *really intolerant.*"

    October 14, 2013 03:11 am at 3:11 am |
  20. The real McCoy

    This is why Jesus won't be coming back because if he did these fools would think of him as another Obama.....always trying to make things better for all instead of a few....

    October 14, 2013 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  21. American Pride

    Is Obama a king or dictator now as the tea party makes him out to be? They seem to be giving him a lot of credit for an office that's kept in check by two other branches of government. Maybe the tea party doesn't know what those other branches are?

    October 14, 2013 03:20 am at 3:20 am |
  22. MeanOldMan

    These misguided folks love to rant about all the damage being done to our country by Obama but from where most of the country sits, the ones damaging the country are Cruz and his followers. I'm a vet and I don't like the impacts that the shutdown is having on other vets. The republicans were told this would happen in advance but choose to ignore it. For them to now try to lay it off on someone else is nonsense. The Tea party and people like Cruz are showing their true colors and they are not those of a patriot of any type but rather a traitor to everything this country is supposed to stand for.

    October 14, 2013 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  23. Tim

    Ironic that the protesters want the federal government to open when the very people manipulating this event are the ones keeping it closed...now that is pretty wild..

    October 14, 2013 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  24. The real McCoy

    You can see the fear on their faces...the only problem is nobody really wants to hurt them......we just believe as a species we can do better...after all, you cannot take your riches with you now can you? And that is not socialism...it's isolationism just like the south has wanted for years....when you hear people who believe the south is waiting to rise again, then no one should be shocked by the disdain for this president....

    October 14, 2013 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  25. jawhite

    This article is so one sided in its reporting, I'm embarrassed for the writer. THIS is what is called journalism in America? I don't care what side of the issue you are on, liberal or conservative, if you attended the rally and the above is what you came away with, then you are either ignorant or deliberately trying to mislead readers. I think it's the latter.

    You can find idiots in every crowd. CNN had to look really hard to find the few that were present and then include only them in the article. Sad!

    October 14, 2013 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
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