October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
11 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. G

    A people left over from a dark period in our nation's history who just can't let go of the past.

    October 14, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. Hogan's Goat

    "I'm black,but looking at the facts. " Suuuuuuuure you are.

    October 14, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. Fred

    These people are rational, loving, sensible patriots. Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and the rest of the radical extremists of the left are determined to destroy the formerly great country of America. It may take another ten years, but eventually most of the uneducated fools who voted for Obama will realize that they initiated the destruction of the once United States.

    October 14, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    "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."

    This is not a patriotic group, they threatened the President by saying "come out with your hands up". I guess to some that is totally acceptable. The Quran part is just another sign of their total inability to accept any reality. These people are dangerously delusional.

    October 14, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. Tony Torres

    It is okay to report crap as this but some media outlets let jerks say and do anything that comes out of their mouths but do not report that the GOP is mainly at fault for all this crap. Let the nation know exactly who is destroying the US, all these people that say they are patriots but are very far from it. Most are either ignorant or just plain stupid in the belief that our POTUS is a muslim ,etc. Where are these jerks from? What exactly do they want? Is all going to be great again when the black prez is out of office? Than what, who are you going to rail against? I guess we will return to utopia once we get THAT BIG BAD BLACK man out of office. Just pure hate and bigotry is what these idiots preach and to boot most vote against their own interest.n We must rid of this cancer as soon as possible and vote their people out of there.

    October 14, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. mutanttruth

    "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?" -Ted Cruz

    Because you refuse to pass a proper budget until you get your way?

    October 14, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Joe Noypitz

    This is CLASSIC Tea Party. Everybody knows they farted, but they're pointing at the cat, or dog, or table, or something other than themselves.

    October 14, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. Sashatree

    What's truly disturbing about these protestors is that they're STUPID enough to think that President Obama and the Democrats in DC are responsible for this mess!! Good GOD - THE REPUBLICANS ARE THE ONES WHO CLOSED DOWN THE GOVERNMENT!! And the fact that Cruz and Palin had the AUDACITY to show up there and try and blame this on the President/Democrats is INSANITY at its best! THERE'S NO SPINNING THIS SITUATION - WHICH WAS CREATED BY THE REPUBLICANS AND THE TEA PARTY!!!! These protesters are truly ignorant of FACT!! I am fully expecting white hoods and cross burnings next!

    October 14, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. Terri

    "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."

    Yeah let's follow these delusional whack jobs...

    October 14, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Charles

    Tea Party will not go away because the funding from the billionaires (e.g., Koch brothers) will keep it strong. As long as enormous amounts of funds are thrown at it and at the like-minded politicians, the simple-minded and under-educated will continue to be the pawns and mouthpieces of a much more complicated struggle of the very wealthy to keep their power and position.

    October 14, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. mutanttruth

    "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?" – Ted Cruz

    Because you refuse to pass a budget until you get your way?

    October 14, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Jay

    Tea party = irrational, misinformed

    October 14, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. IndepenGent

    With the likes of this clown and rednecks like CowboyUpAmerica, it is amazing that the GOP wonders why they cannot win a Presidential election. The House GOP is full of representatives from districts in the Deep South that hold these warped views. The majority has spoken... intolerance is a losing strategy.

    October 14, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. Dave

    Here's how I see it. Memorials and parks that are usually lightly manned have been barricaded and gov dollars are being spent in an attempt to keep people out. Overtime is being payed, extra staff called in. Whats really shutdown? Why is it that they have no money to keep parks open, but have money to forcibly keep people out (the latter far more expensive). Everyone should march on DC. Think about it for a second. The gov is shutdown but keeps spending where it wants and spends extra in an attempt to create some façade that's its closed. Anyone that defends this Gov and belittles these protesters is braindead.

    October 14, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. Chris

    Those holding Obama blameless in this mess are terribly myopic. He knew long ago he was going to run into the debt ceiling, and that he would need the cooperation of the GOP—the party he has repeatedly poked and kicked and refused to cooperate with. His stubbornness and arrogance are as much to blame as anything for the situation in which this country now finds itself.

    October 14, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. badnews333

    Way to go vets.

    October 14, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. Terri

    Some days I wish Obama really was Muslim. Muslim, Christian, seriously, what does it matter?

    October 14, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. Tan-Man

    Allah or Quran has nothing to do with this shutdown. Obama is not even Muslim. Not sure why or what caused this speaker to reference Islam! That just shows how intelligent other side is!!

    October 14, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. filo bedo

    Regular American's had better pay close attention or these halfwit's preaching freedom will rob all of us of it.

    October 14, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. abe

    The party of "small government" can't stomach a closed memorial.

    October 14, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  21. jim

    And these nitwits voted for McPalin in 2008? Really? REALLY ???

    October 14, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. Vet_SK

    They vets I know would never put a memorial above someone else's livelihood. Open the entire government and provide services to everyone.

    October 14, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  23. rc

    If Harry Reid and O would try and work through this problem instead of blocking the House at every turn we would not have barricades in front of open air memorials.
    The next thing we will see is O sending his shock troops to tear down the memorials.

    October 14, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  24. Malory Archer

    blacknwhite

    Don't think we should speak disrespectfully of president, but I absolutely think he is heading us toward totalitarianism and gov't controlling our lives.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Really? Care to provide some CREDIBLE examples?

    October 14, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  25. Rick

    First, I don't believe Obama is a Muslim. Second, even if he was, it's a non-issue in terms of his ability to act as Commander-in-Chief. Despite conservatives' beliefs, we do not have a Christian government, we have an agnostic government. Religion should rightfully be removed for government – Christian, Muslim, and all others.

    October 14, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
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