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. ImvotingforHillary

    The GOP closed everything down, NOT Obama. The extreme righties can't say what they REALLY want to say about Obama in public so they accuse him of being a "socialist" among other things.

    October 13, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. Kobe

    This is so stuiped, put the Quran down. That's the most ignorint thing I've ever heard! This man seems to be educated but his not. He has hate in his heart toward the second and fastest growing religion. Allah is the same is the god of Abraham, he is the same god that you worship! Allah is just god in Arabic. The this man is the reason America is going down the drain !

    October 13, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Socalmcgraw

    "Punk", "his people".....come on just say it. You know the word, just say it. And of course if you're not as Christian as that group, then you must be reading some other book. The National Park funding is a red herring. For the tea partiers; tell me how the National Parks are essential to a smaller functioning government? I don't see a lot of racial diversity in the video.

    October 13, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. don

    the last time I saw a president of the united states on his knees in a mosque was George W Bush , shortly after the sept 11 attacks.
    What are these nut cases talking about ?

    October 13, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. Faux Scandals

    This is just another hateful tea party rally, they never mention the roll the GOP is playing in this.

    October 13, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  6. don

    the last time I saw a president of the united states on his knees in a mosque was shortly after the sept 11 attacks.
    What are these people talking about ?

    October 13, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  7. cathstar

    Cruz and Palin - perfect together! Reminds me of "Dumb and Dumber."

    October 13, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  8. bibi

    These tea partiers are making white people look really bad.

    October 13, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. The Taxman

    Cannot believe Jay Carney and his Obama rhetoric. Of course it was Obama and his cronies that shut down the government and are threatening us with the debt ceiling. The speaker is pretty correct on the Muslim in the White House as Obama surely is not an American. God Bless all those who have served our country in the military and guard.

    October 13, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. ep tor

    The Tea Party's behaviour is like any cornered animal in its death throws. Just ignore their hysterical wails.

    October 13, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Justaguy

    Obama may or may not be Muslin – but he sure isn't Christian as he claims!

    October 13, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. ron

    These guys remind me of the village idiots ganging up on Frankenstein.

    October 13, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  13. rising-up

    Amazing how people are SO QUICK to ridicule the Tea Party, it speaks yet again to the level of ignorance this country suffers from. It is YOU that are part of the problem, take off your brown shirts & blinders – OPEN your eyes & seek the truth before you become a 100% government slave & fool. To call the Tea Party racist is laughable since Reid & Pelosi & a number of other socialist/commie leaders are also a huge part of this country's problems.
    Remember this too, anytime you point a finger outward, there are 4 more pointing back at you. Take a look at yourselves & ask God who the real haters are! You might be surprised to see who's looking back at YOU! God have mercy on every one of your pitiful, biased, sold-out & sorry souls.
    To the Vets that marched on DC today, to the truckers & to the Tea Party too – my thanks & gratitude. GOD BLESS YOU!

    October 13, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. T

    ...I voted for Nixon.......Reagan..........Bush Sr.........W. Bush the first time...............BUT.............I cannot ever vote for these Tea Party led Republicans..........NOT EVER.............

    October 13, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. tepeters

    The Tea Party and their ilk are the real danger to America-the GOP needs to expurgate them from their constituency

    October 13, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. Todd

    Meanwhile – returning to Earth and the news today...

    October 13, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  17. tommy

    Obama hates veterans, Republicans and white people in general. Any president that closes a veteran's memorial as a political ploy is a disgrace to his office and to the country. Obama did this on purpose , that much should be clear even to
    his most rabid supporters. But of course he will blame someone else.

    October 13, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  18. Trixie Allen

    Tea party, truly insane in the membrane.

    October 13, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  19. Jessica

    An example of ignorance, fear, and hate used to political advantage by the tea party. It is hard to see how anyone takes these people seriously, but they do. This is extremely dangerous for our country. Other country's have problems with extremist groups causing instability in there country, now we have one too.

    October 13, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. JC

    It doe not cost to have veterans visit the memorial site, it is out in the open, the vets are old or wounded they will not cause any riots or damage so why it has to be closed? The administration missed on this one.

    October 13, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. Don, Toronto

    It is amazing that when some people only listen other people's partisan spin of any set of facts/evidence but do not take the time to read, to carefully listen to, to think for themselves about the facts/evidence and as such be able to make a careful analysis of those facts/evidence, how they can be easily led astray as lambs to the slaughter and be encourage to be instruments doing the wrong though they may have good intentions. It is my belief that not all Tea party activist have bad intentions but most of them are only blind followers of people who have an agenda that is motivated by hate, greed and a lack of care for the poor or people who do not fit into their socioeconomis sphere. Sarah Pain-lin, Ted Cruz and others do not really care about the suffering mothers, fathers and children. They give lip service but how many of them would go to the grass help those that are in need. Wake folks from your slumber.

    October 13, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. Lydia

    'Put the Quran down'...Really...Was that for real???

    October 13, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. deee510

    How do the people call themselve christian and have high morals when they hate our president for the color of his skin?.they dont care about the facts just make up b.s. and blame the black president.palin,cruz and the rest of the losers will never be president and they hate obama because they cant beat him.and all their lies and games come right back to slap them in the face

    October 13, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Patricia

    Listen to you people, you are calling our veterans, the people who have served this country names, talk about classless. As for shutting down the memorials, sorry boys and girls but that is all on Obama. My husband volunteers at Madigan Army Hospital and the order to "make things as hard on people as possible" came straight from the top (WH). The WH tried to shut down privately funded memorials like Mt. Vernon and while Yellowstone may be federal the road to it is owned by the state and the WH briefly shut that down until the governor ordered the barricades removed.. Just wondering if the left EVER holds Obama responsible for anything. Try using the same yard stick that you used on Bush on Obama. If the memorials and parks had been shut down during Bush's terms all of you would have laid the blame squarely at his feet. So stop with the righteous indignation.

    October 13, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. Dave Armstrong

    It is scary to you to see a man who is obviously intelligent, be so out of touch with reality.

    October 13, 2013 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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