October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
12 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. Salty Bob

    And the stupid keeps on giving.

    October 14, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  2. Robert Cook

    A few thoughts – 1.) if the monuments were left open, and someone vandalized them, these same folks would be screaming that Obama let these monuments go unprotected. 2.) Regardless of his personal beliefs, we're a nation that honors your right to practice the faith of your choice without fear of gov't stopping you... so most of these 'Christians' just said "oh you have beliefs different than ours, so you can't be president" – no offense, but HYPOCRITE! 3.) God was not added the the pledge until the 50s to fight communist China and Russia – we're not a 'God-fearing' nation, we're a nation that says "you may fear the God you so chose" = STOP HATING RELIGIONS OTHER THAN YOUR OWN!

    October 14, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  3. mollyjb

    I only see old white men at this rally. This is Not a representation of how multicultural and diverse the country really is. These guys are just really after getting rid of the first black president the country had and they don't care about how they are destroying the country. Also they are the ones who shut down the government so why are they surprised to find government agencies and parks shut down? What a bunch of morons.

    October 14, 2013 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  4. Gem2013

    Complete lack of respect for the Park Police and DC Police. Most of which are Vets themselves and working for free. No doubt some unpaid federal worker had to clean up their mess.

    October 14, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  5. kurtinco

    Were there any black or brown people in that crowd? I didn't see any. Hmm. makes you wonder.

    October 14, 2013 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  6. pkMyt1

    It is amazing how people who think the Federal Government serves little function are getting riled up because something they want is closed because. This morning NPR had the story about the CO farmers not being able to submit insurance paperwork because the USDA is closed, yesterday it was Ellis Island.

    October 14, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  7. Jessie Jaqasun

    Sounds familar. When troops were brought into DC in the 30s to get out Veterans.

    October 14, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  8. DennisBTR

    Let there be no mistake, these people are not republicians. They are a splinter group much like the dixiecrats of the 1960's. These are the people that elect right wing nut cases to Congress. They say anything, without regard to the truth, and their followers accept these crazy statments as facts. Fox news repeats these crazy statements, retracts them later, but it's too late the tea baggers have already accepted them as facts. If they want to end the government shutdown, they need to grow up (mentally) and start electing represtatives that are statesmen, not politicians driven by their desire just to get reelected. Believe it or not there is a higher duty to the nation than to one's Congressional district..

    October 14, 2013 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  9. Mark

    First of all, for those of you that haven't figured out how the government works and who started the shutdown.... Oh, why bother this is just to exhausting anymore!

    October 14, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  10. rendnbrc

    Wow. I always thought the tea partiers were a bunch of racist screwballs. Looks like the truth has finally come out and they're perfectly comfortable showing it. I guess the tea party is the KKK for rich people and congressmen.

    October 14, 2013 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  11. Kman66

    Obama is an absolute disgrace to America

    October 14, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  12. shistone

    Disappointing to see the tea party "christians" spewing their usual coded hate speech and displaying their idiot bigot banner rebel flags.
    They are nothing but a bunch of racists. If the republican party has any sense left at all they need to kick these morons out and back to the bigot hole they crawled out of.

    October 14, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  13. floyd from illinois

    Cruz and Palin were/are two of the biggest mouths IN FAVOR OF the shutdown.

    Now they are two of the most obvious faces protesting the results of the very shutdown for which they called.

    Could anyone be any more two-faced than that?

    October 14, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  14. DCdemos

    More ignorant bigotry from the far right.... business as usual.

    October 14, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  15. jetty

    Liberals deriding our vets....pathetic.

    October 14, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  16. American Joe

    Tea Party aka Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, they just stopped wearing the Casper the ghost Halloween costumes, LOL

    October 14, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  17. Dylan

    Put your Bible down. How bout that??

    October 14, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  18. M

    Nothing but an ignorant rabble. Disgusting.

    October 14, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  19. "Obame the great"

    What an uncencitive thing to say, the last thing America needs its to start a holy war..... we are having hard times, deal with it....together we stand, divided we fall. Better times will came.

    October 14, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  20. Call me by my first name, Sergeant!

    This must be the 5% that still approve of congress. Morons.

    October 14, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  21. Gary

    Surprise surprise! The lefties (creators of the KKK) are playing the race card again.

    October 14, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  22. quinLee

    this beast in which the GOP sought to support and capitalize upon back in 2008 has turned and eaten their party alive, now it's threatening the stability of our nation, and by extension the world economy. Imagine that, all this from a minority group that is bankrupted on facts and broad understanding but surplussed in ignorance, fear and hatred.

    October 14, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  23. JimS

    These yokels are good for the business of late night comedians but Republicans are committing a suicide if they put the crazies in charge of the asylum. Funny thing is that in doubting Obama's American roots and following a man born in Canada, these bozos make it eminently clear it was never about President's claim for candidacy.

    October 14, 2013 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  24. John

    "Put the Quran down" – Maybe the Tea Party is the new incarnation of the the Klu Klux Klan, let's look at the plain facts- a group of white people, predominantly Christian, preaching hate and revolution

    October 14, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  25. Preston

    Now my blood boils!

    First these Republicans plot then execute a plan to shut down the government, then demonstrate their ignorance by blaming the closure of the memorials on Obama!

    The memorials are closed because of the Republicans!

    They give away their racial prejudice by slandering this president's ethnicity and dragging religion into their tirade. Plain is not a patriot; more like an idiot.

    October 14, 2013 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
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