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. SonOftheUS

    Has anyone stopped to think about how about 8 hours after the government "shutdown" (85% still up and running) that the national parks had custom made signs in place declaring that the parks and monuments were closed. NOTHING gets done that fast with the government. Procurement requirements would never allow this to happen. Why are the saunas and gyms for the Congress open by special legislation. Are they really essential?

    October 14, 2013 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  2. Dan5404

    This was a hypocritical rally of the familiar hate mongers. These rabid all-white, politically ignorant propagandists are actually the ones that started the shutdown in the first place and want it to continue. While they show up at rallies that are to save face and pretend it's not their fault at all, the GOP and Tea Party are ignoring the fact that the debt ceiling and CR crises they manufactured are going to hurt veterans even more by delaying or canlelling checks for benefits and health care while laying off people that help them at the VA, Total hypocrites. This rally was just like the announced rally of a planned 3,000 right-wing truckers in Washington last weekend. It totally fizzled. One organization counted about 30 trucks. With 21% approval, you Tea Party zombies need to find a new leader besides Ted Cruz and his 14% approval rating.

    October 14, 2013 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  3. FubarObama

    He should also drop his presidency

    October 14, 2013 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  4. stephen

    looks like a diverse crowd.

    October 14, 2013 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  5. Kelly

    Wow, funny how differently the rally of illegal immigrants was reported. And all the racist hate speech from Sharpton gets toned down,.... Lefty CNN strikes again

    October 14, 2013 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  6. Frank S

    I seem to remember seeing a confederate stars and bars in the crowd earlier. Why CNN treats this as legitimate discourse I don't know, but seems more geared to Fox News. These folks seem to be the consituency that keeps the Palins and Cruzes of the world in office, immune from defeat at the polls due to gerrymandering. We are in a heap of trouble, people.

    October 14, 2013 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  7. cumulus

    Patricia, please see Ryan budget proposal,then let's hear all about it, crickets honey crickets! Just like the nia, horrible Democrats, get real, your gop cuts funding for both to the bone, righteous indignation indeed

    October 14, 2013 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  8. Jennifer

    Okay. The law, upheld by he US Supreme Court, is "Obamacare". That means the only way to remove the law is to repeal the law (um, kinda like Prohibition, right). Unfortunately, the majority of the American population actually WANT the law–so repeal is pretty well impossible. That's why the Republican party kept trying to put defunding into the budget bills. Hence, a shutdown–because the Republicans would not pull the defunding wording.

    Now, this article shows Republicans and Tea Party members telling the President to re-open the memorial and other parks. This is just one more time that the 'Pubs and TP's are trying to anger-manage people into their way of thinking. If they cloud the issue enough; if they say "It's the President's fault" enough–the American populace will begin to believe it.

    All they have to do is say it one more time than someone else can say, "No–it's YOUR fault" and they will win.

    October 14, 2013 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  9. JJM

    Any group that veiws Tom Cruz, Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin as their leaders should seek mental help! The ACA will cover it!

    October 14, 2013 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  10. Paul Prejean

    Ugh, isn't less government exactly what these people want? They should relish the fact that it's been shut down for nearly half a month. I be they didn't even clean up the mess they made.

    October 14, 2013 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  11. SonOftheUS

    Shame on all members of Congress, and the president. None of the Red, Blue or POTUS are willing to negotiate. I know there are glimmers of hope that are being pushed through the mainstream media, but like the well planned procurement of closure signs, if you don't think that this is all very well orchestrated, then you have been drinking the Kool-Aid just a little bit too long. Everyone is good at pointing fingers and claiming that "the American people deserve better." Damn right we do. And right now I don't really consider anyone in the Congress, the POTUS, or any supporting agency really American. Anyone in the government that can actually look in the mirror and not be sickened at what they see, compared to what they told their constituents what they were and stood for, then this country is lost. It's all about the parties and what the POTUS wants. If they went out and really conducted an honest survey of the American populous, instead of the niche groups and districts where they know they'll get the responses they want, then I think they would really be startled at what the real Americans want for their country. But with blinders on and rose colored glasses, not to mention that the reins are end their hands, their is no other course for the country than what their "enlightened" minds see.

    October 14, 2013 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  12. Hohumm

    How can the Tea Party be so ignorant? They really are half educated hateful people. If they want to shut down the gov't then shut it ALL down. Send the military home, cut off ALL payments including THEIR SS and disability payments, grab their guns and let it rip.

    October 14, 2013 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  13. Gary

    These people disgust me. This country is beginning to disgust me. The behavior of these people is just unacceptable. I am all for voicing your opinion, but this is nothing more than race baiting. PERIOD.

    These folks do not represent my view, or the views of decent Americans who have to suffer through this situation because of the ignorant few who think holding a country and its economic future hostage is OK when you want to change a law. Their continued existence only does more damage to our countries reputation and does nothing to forward us out of the current situation, and does nothing to further us as a nation of individuals who wants what everyone else wants. A drama free existence with the ability to make a comfortable living and the freedom to live a safe life in the neighborhood of our choosing.

    These un-educated masses are counter productive to a civilized society, and should be considered as dangerous as any foreign entity wishing to do harm to our nation.

    October 14, 2013 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  14. lcleejr1356

    this vet is embarrassed to see other vets put down president Obama, they should know better.

    October 14, 2013 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  15. KieranH

    This guy should have been smashed with a baseball bat, and dragged behind a pickup truck in Texas. Show him some hospitality.....

    October 14, 2013 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  16. Brooklynbl

    Clearly you did not have first hand coverage
    This is not what happened
    When the veterans met with the barricades and proceeded to remove them the republicans that showed up had been notified and and rushed over for a photo op that made them look like they were helping instead of admitting that they actually caused the dhutdown and the crowds knew it and booed them
    Where do you get your information and how dare you print lies?

    October 14, 2013 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  17. W

    No mention of the person who was waving a confederate flag outside the White House? You dropped the ball there, CNN.

    October 14, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  18. TAJ

    Good for them!

    October 14, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  19. heebeejeebee

    JustAGuy. How would you know? Are you God?

    October 14, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  20. Loren

    Really? Yes, make this about race and the tea partiers. The sad truth is that no one can see past their "political team" long enough to realize how sick our country is and how out leaders (of both parties) have ALLOWED it to happen.

    This march had veterans, many of whom were wheelchair bound, being thanked and surrounded by citizens who are just done with the games. Maybe there were a few bad apples but from what I saw, it was the most Anerican demonstration I've seen in a long time.

    Instead of reporting on it fairly, you and all the other mainstream media goons largely ignored it and now you report on it as though it was a joke. Look at the pictures of those old men and make fun of it again.

    Seriously though people, stop being Republicans or Denocrats and be American. It's not about sides anymore.

    October 14, 2013 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  21. krehator

    They are radicals. Don't expect too much common sense. They are just looking for camera time. Plus there is a lot of political motivation behind it.

    October 14, 2013 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  22. steve

    best line in the story, "the crowd of hundreds....". the tea party is irrelevant.

    October 14, 2013 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  23. Disgusted

    Anyone that defends them scumbag democrats is also part of the problem... Why didn't he address the vets while they were there if it isn't his fault? He's a skinny stick pussy thats why !! Anything he touches is turns catastrophic. Something tells me he couldn't build anything over one story. HE NEEDS TO BE RUN OUT OF OFFICE AND AMERICA !!! GO HOME TO YOUR MUD HUT !

    October 14, 2013 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  24. Jeremie

    I'm all for freedom of expression. As a member of our military, I fight to uphold these prinicples. But I strongly disagree with Mr. Klayman. Besides the fact that he's apparently anti-muslim, and he uses his bigotry to gather together other bigots, there's a fine line between exercizing freedom of speech and an "Nonviolent Revolution". You Sir are a disgrace as an american. I'd also like to note that he also apparently thinks that the ENTIRE american public shares his.."ideals"... otherwise why even suggest such a thing.

    October 14, 2013 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  25. jon wilson

    Blaming the democrats? Reading the Koran? Close ties to Tea Party? Enough said

    October 14, 2013 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
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