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.
Just shows how ignorant and misguded these people are. Until now, they truely believe that the Pres of the US of A is a Muslim? Bunch of pea-sized brained people.
Not that he is, but even if he was I'd rather have a Quran carrying Obama than a bible carrying Rick Perry. That coming from a Christian.
First off, Señor Cruz needs to go back to Cuba or Canada or where ever he is from. Secondly, Obama has gotten more military personel out of war and done more for veteran family support than any president ever. Put the blame where it is due! George Bush who got us in to one bogus war and the longest war the US has ever been in and DID NOT have the money in the budget to pay for them. They cast your eye on the fat cats in banking and trading, they rob the country, they won't lend us the money we gave them and they are STILL screwing us in every way possible. Wake up people!
They got it right though....
Why do people listen to these lunatics........?!?!?!?
I would rather they closed the national parks and memorials if it meant paying the disabled Vets. Some things you just have to do, instead of others. Those who make money off the national parks and memorials are not more important than the ones who fought and died for it.
What were these nasty American veterans thinking? If they had just posed as radical illegal aliens, they would have been welcomed with open arms.
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.
Why isn't it my first amendment right?
Well, these folks wanted it, now they got it and they're mad? What a bunch of hypocritical numbskulls.
The President has shown his preference for Islam, especially when in the Middle East...
As usual the ignoramus leading the ignorant. It was funny, remember the old saying "whoever digs a pit will fall in it" We have seen this picture before......Dixiecrats anyone? Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin perfect match from hell. Both thinks more highly of themselves than they really are.
Freedom and Liberty is not obtained through compulsory government or caliphate dictate.
The President must end his coercive and compulsory tactics.
Wow, looks like this group of Veterans are taking their rights back. Obama should comply and quit playing games. Also, he should grant the 1 year delay in Obamacare for everyone. If it's such a great program, make it voluntary because people will want to sign up for it. I suspect it's not such a great program. I'm an Honorably Discharged Retired Navy Veteran and I stand with these people.
"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. Couldn't that money have been better used to help keep the monuments open?
America's version of the Taliban.
We need to go no further then reading this crap to literally see that this country is divided on theological and ideological differences which may be too great to bridge. I don't care if the President is a Muslim, Catholic, Mormon, Baptist, Methodist, Christian, Satanist or even an Atheist – obviously the right-wing zealots do care and believe only their opinions matter on every issue this country faces or the values of others. I'm sick an tired of the hate-mongering, simple mindedness of the Tea Party and all those of the GOP who've adopted this zealot mindset and beliefs.
Guess what Barrack Obama is the President of the United States, he will remain the President of the United States till his term is over, no matter what crap these psycho-delusional, bigot, hate driven morons believe.
As a white man, I am embarassed by all the "christian" white people in America who treat our President as they do with much mailce and hatred in their hearts. God, please save me and the President from your followers!!!!
Shutdown the government. And then whine when the government is shutdown.
You can't make this stuff up.
So, these are the people who want to take over? It's funny that they use Atlas Shrugged as their anthem.
I would rather they closed the national parks and memorials if it meant paying the disabled Vets. Some things you just have to do, instead of others. Those who make money off the national parks and memorials are not more important than the ones who fought and died for them and who fought for the freedom of Americans. Afterall, isn't that why the governments until now have said we should go to other to countries and fight those wars-–because it protected Democracy?? Well this is how it's done. If we suffer with the closures, we need to remember that this and other administrations caused this. And for those who voted for Pres Obama AGAIN helped cause the pain we are now in. This President is one of the worst ever. He is the "borrow and spend" President. He is not interested in cutting spending or balancing the budget. He is more interested in spending more and more. Where does it stop? The last time we had a balanced budget was under Clinton, a Democratic President, and under a Republican Congress. And we had a surplus under Clinton's time but with the Republicans controlling the House and Senate. Not now. Now it is completely dysfunctional and getting anywhere is hard because the Democrats are not interested in fiscal responsibility. They are interested in blaming the other party. The bullying, blustering, name-calling President is beyond anyone we've had up there in power before. I'm shocked that he acts the way he does when he is the leader of this country!!!
In all my years on this planet I don't EVER remember a President behaving the way this one is behaving. I really feel awful for the veterans that have been treated this way. There is NO excuse for it at all...These places are "open air" they don't need armed guards to patrol them. The barricades are a slap in the face to these service men who have protected this country with their service. Giving them a hard time has NO justification at all!!
The American People fought WWII over extremism. A vocal and active minority was able to take majority control in Germany. God help us all if these fanatics ever make their way to the presidency.
Seriously, they have no idea how governs work and they want to be in charge?
"high profile speaker" Sarah Palin...there goes all your credibility, morons
They're vets, not tea party. As usual, CNN contorts the true story to fit they're agenda; the title of the article is proof enough.