October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
9 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. Devout Atheist

    The stupidity of the right astounds me.

    October 13, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. JJ

    Republicans: For shutting down government services except when they're against shutting down government services.

    October 13, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. Mario

    Man, now the Tea Party is just getting silly. Calling McCain an Al-Quida sympathizer and now telling the President to put the Quran down; really torpedoing themselves in the most hilarious of ways.

    October 13, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. FreeFromTheism

    I'm a veteran and these people do not represent me.

    October 13, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. adam4x4

    "tea party like rally"? What does that mean? Do you mean a bunch of idiots who have pressured representatives to shut done the government are now demonstrating against the shut down? What a bunch of clowns!

    October 13, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. Our Tiny Earth

    The Tea Party has become America's face of evil

    October 13, 2013 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. What Now

    These people really are nuts. We should be more afraid of groups like this who are ignorant to facts. Truly scary.

    October 13, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. Frank

    I love it! Im not the only that thinks that THING in the White House is a TRAITOR and a MUSLIM!

    October 13, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. John Stone

    I donated money to some of these veterans memorials so that they could be built and MY government is going to tell me that I can't visit them? Donations and taxpayer money were spent to build the majority of these memorials to the service of veterans. What is wrong with this picture. Some of us paid in blood or loss of life.

    October 13, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. newsscanner

    What a bunch of dummies.

    October 13, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. Tychi

    These are the people that caused the problem by voting in these tea-party nuts. The rioters are neo-cons, militia organizations, and anarchists. These are the people destroying democracy by killing the GOP as a useful party. It was the tea-party that caused this mess and closures and then blame it on the President, pathetic.

    October 13, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. waheid

    The Tea Party and its supporters are not just a threat to the G.O.P., they are becoming a threat to the U.S.A. as we know it. Extremists of any kind are energized by a false sense that they are right while everyone else is wrong. They adhere to an ideology that is based on ignorance that thrives on misinformation, lies, and a distorted perception of the world around them. They speak in terms of “Americans want,” without realizing that what Americans want is not what they want. The threat from the Tea Party should not be underestimated: the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Nazis in German, and the Fascists in Italy all started with small groups of highly energized supporters who brought down legitimate governments and brought death, destruction and widespread misery. It is not Obama, the Liberals, or even the Republican Party who is the enemy; it is those who wrap themselves in the American flag and shout lies, threats and insults but who offer nothing constructive in the way of solutions to the nation’s problems.

    October 13, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Bay O. Net

    It should be renamed the "Hundred Vet March." The Tea Party may have millions of dollars from the Koch brothers to influence Republican Party primary elections, but in the general elections that actually send people to Congress, the words and actions of Tea-Party conservatives such as Palin and Cruz will only serve to, ironically, elect more Democrats to Capitol Hill in 2014. So let Palin, Cruz, and Larry Klayman talk.

    October 13, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. James P. Barber

    Don't blame Obama because god short changed you on brains. These idiots keep getting weirder each day. They should pick up a bible and try acting like christians. I'm sorry, that was their values yesterday. Today they are following the anointed Cruz who is the only true believer that offers salvation to the conservatives. Thank you Cruz and Palin for running against the republicans you're making it so much easier for the democrats. The republican senators never remove the barricades at the war memorial that they shut down, as usual they showed up late and tried to take credit. Wait till this bunch stop receiving their SS and medicare and they'll be back whining again.

    October 13, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. DeeAnn

    Do they not get the irony that it was the Republicans that forced the shutdown? The monuments are important to all of us...that's why Rangers guard it. When the govt closed down & Rangers furloughed, it's prudent to barricade the monuments to protect them.

    October 13, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  16. Ahucs

    I think the real shocking thing is that stuff like this isn't even shocking anymore.

    October 13, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  17. Tom

    To be clear, the only people brainless enough to think that this is the president's shutdown are also brainless enough to think he's a Muslim.

    October 13, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. Simon Jester

    This is not about the shutdown. This is about an out of control federal government.

    October 13, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. fed up

    "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." How convenient cnn leaves out the fact that just a day or so later this wo rthless govt allowed an IMMIGRATION RALLY to be held in the exact park they excluded our veterans from! THAT IS DISGRACEFUL!!!!! Our veterans fought for all of our freedoms, yet they are shunned by our govt while and a bunch of people wanting il legals to be citizens get preferential treatment over them? Our veterans are FAR more important than a bunch of ille gal sponges!!!!!

    October 13, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. talking2much

    parks dept told to make things as pinful as possible...not by Repubs, by Obama

    October 13, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. PadreSJ

    Maybe they had a noble purpose at some point in their history, but now THIS is the sort of craziness that most associate with the Tea Party.

    I for one am a supporter of fiscal responsibility, but the Tea Party just comes across as "crazy"

    October 13, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. talking2much

    Parks Dept told to make things as painful as possible, not by repubs, not by TEA Party...by Obama.

    October 13, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. Jerry

    It's sad that those fools don't understand that they have lost the battle and the war. Obamacare is the law of the land. The U.S. voter will make certain that the GOP lose the house in the mid-term elections.
    Furthermore, it's no embarrassment to be a Muslim. However, the sitting U.S. president is Christian and was born in Hawaii.

    October 13, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. Alina77

    I am truly afraid of thees people, they are everything that went wrong with this country.. Its more and more looks like a conservative fascism. Lets burn all the books now, they make our kids progressive.

    October 13, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. Disgusted

    It's been several years since he was elected, Teahadists. If you still think our churchgoing President is a "s3kr3t mooslim," then you should probably consider moving to some other country where your deliberate self-inflicted ignorance is more welcome.

    October 13, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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