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. Alex

    Oh the illogic of it all. If Obama's a Rev. Wright radical, how can he also be Muslim? Then again, these are people that believe in a book full of contradictions.

    October 14, 2013 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  2. NameRiver

    It seems as though the left is never to blame, yet they are first to lay blame. Ive seem some really stupid comments on here, one of which is shaming the Republicans for attending such an event. I wonder it this person realises that the Democrats have attended and been arrested at an illegal immigrant march. Blame the right all you want people, just keep in mind that it is the left and the president that are keeping this shutdown going by rejecting every bill passed by the House because they are not getting 100% of what they want. This could have been over in days, yet they continue to deny any and every attempt at negotiations.

    October 14, 2013 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  3. realist512

    TEA party is complaining that government is shut down? You have got to be kidding me! Just goes to show how republicans can twist anything. Vets you need to be better informed. Please remember this. If Palin is after something, it is not reasonable. She is a kook.

    October 14, 2013 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  4. Roger

    ...at a rally by the people who fought for our freedom of religion?

    Awkward.

    October 14, 2013 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  5. realist512

    TEA party is complaining that government is shut down? You have got to be kidding me! Just goes to show how republicans can twist anything. Vets you need to be better informed. Please remember this. If Palin is after something, it is not reasonable. She is a kook. Also, remember that Obama is extricating our country from two crazy wars and keeping us out of others. Remember your fallen comrades and those poor folks who are devastatingly injured for life.

    October 14, 2013 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  6. LL72

    I'm a veteran, and I blame the Tea Party. If you can't get your partisan legislation passed through the normal democratic process, and use the federal government as leverage against the will of the people to get it passed anyway, you must accept that you're to blame.

    October 14, 2013 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  7. Maripil

    The tea party are a disgrace to society!! Palin and Cruz are pure charlatans!!

    October 14, 2013 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  8. deseon

    so funny cruz characterizes the closure of the memorial as a political ploy when all he does are political ploys including his government shutdown.

    October 14, 2013 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  9. J. Henry

    I'm confused. I generally recognize the importance of honoring veterans and commemorating significant historical events with monuments; however, why is the closing of these memorials deemed more important than the thousands of people who are not getting pay checks, mothers who cannot receive formula for their infants, and children who cannot participate in early learning programs? The closing of the memorials should not be a surprise. When the sequester began, White House tours were cancelled because of limitations of funding for staff and secret service and some museums changed their operating hours. That was only with a decrease in funding! Of course memorials would close when government funding completely ceases. Federal funding alone is used for all operating expenses (security, maintenance, souvenir stores, etc.) for keeping these places open, functioning, and presentable to the public. Where are the marches for all the other more important impacts of the shutdown?

    October 14, 2013 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  10. JoeyTx

    So you are free to practice Christianity but others are not free to practice their religion? Talk about hypocrites. Possibly about 90% of the people on this forum are not aware of the laws in place. By the laws congress passed only essential and emergency services are allowed to remain open. Violate one of these and you go to jail. This President is too smart for these fools who want to goad him into opening one of those parks on his own so they have cause for impeachment which is stupid by itself. Like they say Ignorance is bliss. You can cure ignorace through education but you can't cure stupidity.

    October 14, 2013 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  11. kuewa

    This is what happens when politics empowers ignorance.

    October 14, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  12. may40

    Well know audio of Obama stating the most beautiful sound he's ever heard is the Islamic call to prayer, which in turn he recited. Libs are all being snowed and you'll never learn because you hate the Truth.

    October 14, 2013 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  13. chad s

    Again, hateful ignorant froth coming from the mouths of tea party activists, nothing to see here, move along.

    October 14, 2013 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  14. Miss Demeanor

    Although the T-party has gone Talibanana's here, at least they moved beyond the 'birther' silliness. Flat-earthers evolving... now that's ironic. What kind of human wants to worship extreme far-right dogma that claims that poor people are freeloaders and inferior beings. No surprise. These same T-zealots bought the shizzle that no banks were responsible for our Dubya Depression, that it was all triggered by poor people who defaulted on home loans that they never intended to repay(though this inconveniently implies the poor prefer living out of dumpsters). But it gets even more preposterous. In their minds, the 'innocent' banks were 'forced' to make loans to the poor (though the only force was greed compelling lenders to copy their competitors unwise loan practices). Simple people get played and never realize they have been used by the team they proudly and loudly cheer for. There sure are a lot of them. Politics is like sports to them. They just want a team to root for and an opponent to hate.

    October 14, 2013 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  15. Lee

    My Family are Reagan Democrats. The Tea Party is pushing us back to the Democratic Party. Right now we are Independents. Ted Cruz reminds me of Joseph McCarthy. Ronald Reagan would have ripped Ted Cruz to pieces. It's amazing how Ted Cruz and his hate rhetoric brings out the Nut Cases exposing how they hide behind making Obama out to being something he's not. At least Cruz can assemble all his believers into one place so we can see what American hate looks like.

    October 14, 2013 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  16. DROFPSYCH

    Check out H.R. 368 a bill introduced by the Republicans that changed the rule pertaining to putting a resolution forth for a vote. It states that before the shutdown began, the GOP made sure that none of the CR would come up for a vote and only Cantor can put up a CR for the house to vote on. I t was done when the GOP realized that some of their party members were going to vote for the clean CR.

    October 14, 2013 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  17. Insight

    Tea party and Bush brought this nation to her knee.

    October 14, 2013 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  18. heebeejeebee

    inexplicably bizarre. there really are people who are this stupid? those comments Larry Klayman made were actually seditious. it's time to start bring charges against some of these folks. it isn't pleasant but this is getting out of hand. all this talk is going to lead to shooting.

    October 14, 2013 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  19. albert

    One thing missing from the video above is the banjo player playing deliverance. What a despicable group of hateful people.

    October 14, 2013 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  20. Name

    So this is all about President Obama being a Muslim?

    October 14, 2013 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  21. Kevin

    Barf, CNN. No need for such incendiary (and meaningless due to its 'beyond fringe nuts' nature) headlines – your base is sufficiently fired up against the GOP. Or keep going. Whatever.

    October 14, 2013 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  22. heebeejeebee

    Use the Sedition Act of 1918. Freedom Watch has gone too far.

    October 14, 2013 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  23. Greg Kaiser

    I am a veteran of the United States Navy, and I am absolutely ashamed of the behavior that these Tea Party people and their supporters in Congress are demonstrating.

    You can't have your cake and eat it too, folks. If you support the shutdown of the government, which has been orchestrated by the Republicans in Congress in an effort to rescind Obamacare, then you support the closing of the National Park Service. You don't get to pick and choose.

    By the way, Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz say "thanks" for allowing them yet another opportunity to get their faces in front of the cameras. Both of these two are well on their way to being footnotes in history.

    October 14, 2013 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  24. Gary

    Why are you blaming the GOP and the Tea Party for spending taxpayers money on barricading open air monuments? And when are you going to stop calling republicans racist? That's your excuse for everything. And good luck on your healthcare. You didn't need all that extra money you'll be spending anyway.

    October 14, 2013 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  25. Me

    Not much difference between the Tea Party and the Jim Jones and The Peoples Temple crowd.

    October 14, 2013 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
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