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. Accountant1967

    "Hastings was among the first to suggest Obama was picking and choosing his targets. He pointed out that while high-profile sites like the Lincoln Memorial were closed, low-key monuments scattered throughout the District were open."

    Blame Obama he wants this to hurt

    October 14, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. cured76

    It's really sad that one group of people can, for a couple of years, brag with such glib that they are shutting down the government, then turn around and say it was the other party's fault. The fact that people are actually buying this crap really scares me. Xenophobia and ignorance are all the Tea Party is about.

    October 14, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  3. Steve

    You would think a United States Senator would have better things to do than protest the temporary closure of a government facility. If it angers you so much, how about heading to the negotiating table and doing what you can to get them open?

    October 14, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. sheshie

    Wow, I see a few little girls in the photo and a lot of older folks and some young families standing around. These domestic terrorists must be stopped!!!

    October 14, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  5. Accountant1967

    And a National Park Service ranger told The Washington Times: "We've been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It's disgusting."

    October 14, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. Nonya

    The reason it was a mostly white crowd is because the blacks were at walmart using their unlimited EBT food stamp cards to steal items. They knew it was a computer issue and they didn't have the money so yes it is stealing.

    October 14, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. Mike

    Other President's functioned just fine with the opposite party's about
    Obama, eventually you've gotta own this mess
    Plus, the tone is set from the top

    October 14, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Momma

    How dare you people on here put down our vets! They are protesting the closing of war memorials when illegal aliens are allowed to gather. What part of this don't you understand? How can you defend this administration and the horrible policies of Obama? It's not racist to disagree and or protest. That is a ridiculous statement.

    October 14, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. Wendy

    Palin and Cruz on a GOP ticket in 2014 will produce happy, happy, happy tea spippers! Go GOP/Tea Party!!!

    October 14, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. Tony

    The Tea baggers will believe any BS because they can't think for themselves.

    October 14, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  11. CaliforniaAC

    This is like stand-your-ground law: get a gun and put it to the President's head, shut down the govmt then claim the President is to blame: for not negotiating is the hight of hypocrisy for Ted Cruz, Sarah Phony and the Tea Party nuts.

    October 14, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. John Mann

    Larry Klayman, Palin, and Cruz. The Three Stooges.

    Well, at least the clown car got some use this weekend.

    The funniest part is cruz protesting a shutdown that he himself engineered.

    October 14, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  13. Sussay

    This is so embarrassing for other countries to see how ignorant and uneducated Americans have become.

    October 14, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  14. timelord7202

    The Quran states that interest rates are an abomination to Allah.

    Given how sports teams and banks get 0% loans, but students that want to improve their lives and be of value to our economy pay HUGE amounts of money and at interest rates nowhere near 0%... Some things of the Quran I'm against, but in some other ways they're more pro-life than what modern day Christians preach...

    October 14, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  15. tabonsell

    So our right-wingers are now citing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.in their battle against a civilized society.

    But in the 1960s when he was leading the fight for more-just nation, these very right-wing freaks were calling him a "communist" or "traitor" and every derogatory term them could "think" of. Even threw him in jail for standing up for American principles.

    October 14, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  16. emt

    Are you serious? The people responsible for this shutdown are THE REPUBLICANS- THE WHOLE LOT OF THEM – ESPECIALLY TED CRUZ, BOEHNER, AND THE LIKES.

    October 14, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. laura.jacobs

    Does CNN have any credibility left? Instead of focusing on how pathetic is it for our gov't to stop veterans from visiting a park, they quote Jay Carney blaming the Republicans. As though that sums up the truth of the matter.
    I was trying to watch CNN last week, but Wolf Blitzer couldn't bring himself to challenge the Democrat position of "no negotiating".

    October 14, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. Fierce Badger

    Larry Klayman is not only a nut he vitriol and ridiculous hyperbole is a danger to our civil safety. I believe in Freedom of Speech but this guy should be gagged.

    October 14, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. reddobie

    Give me a break. Lets have the same rally, destroy government property, and conduct civil disobedience in the Rayburn House Office Building and see how long this type of behavior is tolerated by our elected officials. Police officers, federal officers were just doing their duties but their were treated with great disrespect by all those who attended this rally

    October 14, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. RMA

    These people are really pathologically sick, from the fringes of society where normal people hope that they never have to encounter this kind of deminted thinking.

    October 14, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  21. UseToBeGOP

    and to think.....these people wave American flags and call each other "patriots".

    the biggest and most dangerous group of traitors i've seen in my lifetime.

    October 14, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. deee510

    The gop shut down the gvmt and are threatening to screw the world economy if they cant get cuts to medicare social sec. And medicaid.these vets are getting screwed by the idiots theyre standing with.

    October 14, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. Kirk H

    Its troubling how ignorant, racist, and sick people can be. So glad Palin was not made VP. These people should go home and have their green eggs and ham.

    October 14, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. Accountant1967

    You people need to find a real news source instead of a function of the Democratic party. You cannot base opinion with just one side of the story or seeing a warped version of the other side of the story.

    October 14, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  25. RMA

    While I am not saying that the Republican Party is racist, it is abundantly clear that every racist is drawn to the GOP. A major portion of Obama's opponents are, on some level, racist. Many, if not most, do not even recognize that their dislike of Obama is racist. It is really amazing to observe the pervasiveness of this subconscious racism. In many ways, it is an illustration of how racism has gone "underground" in America.

    October 14, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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