October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
9 years 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.

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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. SFRich

    These antics just make my sick to my stomach. Ignorance and fanaticism combined... a real formula for disaster.

    October 14, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. Gary

    Ok, so the speaker who told the President to "Put the Quran down" has actually been to the White House, invited to meet the President, and saw him praying with the Quran in his hands?


    October 14, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. BG

    If everyone is "wrong" then who is right? It's time we come together as a nation, be civil to each other, address OUR problems, fix them, and move forward. Screaming at each other ain't gonna do it.

    October 14, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. glorydays

    When we have fools like this trying to run the show, why should we expect a successful country?

    October 14, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. david

    That's odd Carole Kaufman, I'm looking at the photo in the story and, yes, looks like 400 folks to me, but I don't see any confederate flags or other signs. I see American flags, a USMC flag, some Don't Tread on Me's, a flag with a green tree on it (don't know what that is but whatever). Maybe I'm missing something. Oh no, I know what it is. The photographer had folks take down the confederate flags so he could take a picture. Was that it? Stop making this into something it's not, which is exactly what the headline of this story is doing. It's a protest where one speaker said something about the Quran. Yes, some people agreed with him, because he probably didn't ride solo. But it's just amazing how single acts like this get the headlines rather then an accurate description of the event itself. The writers should be embarrassed that their names are tied to this ridiculous headline.

    October 14, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. Wes

    Killough needs to put down the donkey flag and do some unbiased reporting. Right now all CNN is putting out is bi-assed OPINIONS.

    October 14, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. Genetist

    This man is ridiculous! Our president is not a follower of Islam... The GOP needs to find new talking points!

    October 14, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. kevin

    This is why I changed from a republican to a democrat. Comments like: " Obama is a BIRTHER", "He's praying to the Kuran", having sara palin speak at the rallies when she has nothing to say", oh, and how much did she get paid? Look at the crowd, are there any people of color??? You can not win an election with just my people (and yes, I'm white ). Republicans, this is not the way to run government. You put your policies on the table and put your name on it and not just say NO to every thing.

    October 14, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  9. bryan

    I have never heard the term "Rallier" (spell check dose not like it either) kinda sounds like "white hispanic "

    I guess CNN dident want to admit the guy was a veteran at a veterans march or even just a regular old "protester"

    Now if it was a veteran's protest against bush CNN would still have cameras on the site where the guy was standing yesterday with 24 hour coverage talking about democracy and the the rights of people to protest

    October 14, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    James Carney is soooo imature. The reason we have a shutdown is that the United States of America is trillions of dollars in debt and the Republican party is trying to slow down our out-of-budget, out-of-control spending. Democrats need to get behind them and help this nation become fiscally sound.

    October 14, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  11. LOL


    This message is for Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, a conservative political advocacy group.
    Mr. Klayman, you need to have your head examined. IT IS THE GOP WHO SHUTS DOWN THE GOVERNMENT. IT IS THE GOP WHO MADE DEMANDS AND THREATS EVEN BEFORE NEGOTIATIONS CAN BEGIN. SHAME ON YOU TED CRUZ AND THE LIKE. THE WORLD IS WATCHING AND DISGUSTED AT YOUR ARROGANCE AND SHAMELESS BEHAVIOR. And, for you, Mr. Boehner, your weakness shows that you shouldn't be the speaker of the House. I don't care if President Obama is Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish or even Atheist. The majority of the United States citizens elected him to be our President. Get over it. You Republicans lost the election and you will lose again in 2016 and it's your own doing.
    Get a clue! IT IS THE DEMS FAULT WE ARE IN THIS MESS!!! There I put it in all caps so it must be true!!! LOL But really it is the dems fault, the GOP compromised, they sent the bill back 3 times with and compromised, what did the senate do??? That is right they outright rejected it and wouldn't compromise. You got one thing right, someone will be voted out in 2014 and 2016 and it will be all the liberal do nothings in the senate!! You post is simply laughable.

    October 14, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. Jay

    The great irony is that Klayman, and others, who likely identify themselves as conservative/traditional "christians" are apostates and heretics to genuine Gospel faith. They haven't a clue about orthodoxy, and are too blinded by their "values" to tell the difference.

    October 14, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  13. jim

    The president is not a Kenyan Muslim Marxist. He's just an incompetent, arrogant failure.

    October 14, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. madelefant

    Rent a protestors.

    October 14, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  15. Me


    This says it all. These people are protesting a problem they created, mad about a complication their shutdown caused, and now they're wrongly calling the president a Muslim when he is not. Just saying something over and over doesn't make it true. Put the TV remote down, and pick up a book (not just the Bible), learn about the world around you, and behave accordingly.
    Yep you got that right, just saying it is the repubs fault doesn't make it true!!!! The SENATE rejected a spending bill how many times?? Even after the GOP caved on some things.....ya keep telling yourself it is the GOP's fault, you might actually believe it eventually!

    October 14, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  16. Pete Schatz

    How do the the republicans get away with this? They force the shut down and then get offended because things get shutdown. And the public, at least some of it, buys it.

    October 14, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  17. Me


    This man is ridiculous! Our president is not a follower of Islam... The GOP needs to find new talking points!
    Funny I was thinking the same thing about liberals!!!

    October 14, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  18. deb

    If he is not a follower of Islam, why did he say "we are not Christian Nation".. We were founded on Christianity.. He hates Christians and American's alike...

    October 14, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. don

    What a stupid comment. Wow, I am flabbergasted at how stupid some of these politicians are. Moving on...

    October 14, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  20. gahh

    How many of these big mouths are being paid by the Republicans, to say stupid things, for the sole purpose of making people mad? Remember when the Republicans had to pay people to sit on the front row of Bush's speeches, to holler and clap for him? Same thing is going on here. How many of the men piling railings in front of the WH, were really veterans, and how much were they being paid to cause trouble. The Republicans create problems somewhere else, to take people's minds off the stupid things they've done.

    October 14, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  21. Decnod

    These people are truly idiots. Why anyone would buy into this nonsense is beyond me.

    October 14, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  22. mrskool

    If i were a Republican i'd be so embarrassed by these imbeciles representing my party – shameful ignorance !

    October 14, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. Dave R.

    When is a senior Republican going to step forward and renounce this. The longer this goes on, the more it will stick them.

    October 14, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. spoo

    bunch of white supremacist m.o.r.o.n.s

    October 14, 2013 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  25. Amy in Cambridge

    Way to keep it classy Tea Party.

    October 14, 2013 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
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