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. Christians are to be considered INSANE and a danger to themselves and others

    No holds barred – they must be eradicated, hunted down, and disposed of.

    October 13, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. Toad

    How did all these people escape the mental institution. Were the guards furloughed?

    October 13, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. Simon

    The Taxman: President Barak Obama is every bit as American as you are. He is not a Muslim. He is not a socialist. Expand your sources of information, you are being lied to.

    October 13, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. Priscilla Kelley

    Have these people actually read the Quran or read about it? It is not the corrupted, extreme beliefs touted by the fanatics any more than the beliefs of fanatic Christians is the Bible. This is the United States of America. What does Obama's religion matter! He is not of the Muslim faith. If these people weren't so scary, they'd be downright laughable! I am an elderly Caucasian woman from a farm family in Virginia, but I could never let myself sink to such demagogue tactics. It's like Hitler and his lies and unification through fear and hatred and lies! Shame! Shame! Everybody knows your name. Why can't Sarah Paling realize that she is just not qualified to influence others? Because she can't find any other way to earn a living!

    October 13, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. Wake up People!

    This has to be one of the most blatant forms of disrespect ever leveled at the President of the United States.

    But I do have one thing to thank the Tea Party for. Those people who sat back and pretended there is no racism since it didn't affect them, have no choice but to see what has been right in front of their eyes all along.

    Thank you Tea Party.

    October 13, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  6. Guest

    Shame on the liberal media for reporting on the Tea Party exactly as they are.

    October 13, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. tildejac

    Being a veteran does not give one the right to be a racist anti american pig. These veterans who are calling for a revolution and saying Obama should get on his knees and surrender and give up the Quran, are un american and should have their entitlements revoked. They should be put in prison for being traitors.

    October 13, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. Rich Kaufman

    Where was your coverage as well? Where will the other networks on this will be? I needy 80% disablity money for my family, unlike most of you I went somewhere and did something other were to scared of doing!

    October 13, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  9. Steve

    Nothing like ridiculing American vets that fought for out freedoms, ehhh CNN?

    October 13, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. Ruby

    How pathetic. They shut down the government then protest the conditions they themselves wanted.
    Maybe to have smaller government these parks and monuments should never be reopened, or just sold off to private companies who could charge admission.

    October 13, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  11. penguin

    We are a nation of idiots. And the Tea Party is full of the most idiots. Our nation is heading in the wrong direction simply because far too many lack basic math skills and are incapable of rational thought

    October 13, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Me

    You people are selfish and that man is stupid why did he say put the quran down well tell him to put the bible down!!!!!

    October 13, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. Romnesia

    No shortage of crazy.

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

    What a shame these vets weren't armed. Maybe they could have taken back the govt FOR THE PEOPLE!

    October 13, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. Brianb

    The people calling it a tea party protest...obviously didn't see all the veterans that made up the crowd...not the Navy Seals, Marines, and Army sgt. (all retired) speaking on the protest....this was a demonstration put on by veterans.

    October 13, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  16. Jackson

    If he was Muslim, would that be bad? Where in the Constitution is Islam condemned or considered to be anti-American?

    October 13, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  17. Benzilla

    This article was written for you freedom hating liberals. From the first sentence the article wreaks of partisan journalism. This is not news, its a biased opinion piece full of hate and dribble for you little squirrels out here. They throw you a few nuts so you can all feed off it. No wonder there only 248 comments and CNN's ratings are in the toilet..

    October 13, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  18. Patriot 529

    At what point are they hateful....it is the Democrats who are bating the race card not the Republicans. These so called "village idiots" you call protesting this Anti American President, have defended the very freedom that you are using to talk hate about them. Grow up, Obama is bad for this country in all aspects, he is cry baby, unqualified, pathetic leader that needs to be removed. If you actually looked at his resume he wasn't even qualified to runa lemonade stand let a lone the greatest country on earth. So shut up, these people are defending your rights that Obama and his goons are taking away, ungrateful stooges.

    October 13, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. Mas367iiu

    Ted (actually Raphael) Cruz is very aligned with extremely pro-Israel AIPAC and his wife works for Goldman Sachs.
    As many say this whole charade is part of Netanyahu's revenge against Obama and his gang for not attacking Syria.

    sounds likely

    October 13, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Will the real nuts of America please stand up. Look over that crowd people, and you'll see a common denominator.

    October 13, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. Name independent one

    This dude is nuts! !!! Put your Quran down? ??? Really. ...and this is why nobody wants to be a part of the Republican or Tea Party. Although the President is not Muslim, it isn't a bad thing and is just quite offensive to people who actually practice Islam.

    October 13, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  22. jel999

    Writers at the Onion couldn't think up something this ironic and just plain silly. It's difficult to make any sense of this as anything other than a bizarre joke: Tea Partiers, who claim that the federal government is "treading" on them, are at a national monument, paid for and maintained by the federal government, complaining that the federal government, which is shut down essentially on their behalf, won't let them see it.

    October 13, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  23. Franklin Graham

    When will the media stop paying attention to certifiable RACISTS? Referring to the President as a muslim is just plain wrong. Have the right wing extremists no shame? Has the media no shame for this sham of reporting? A few hundred of them show up and your lead is that a million person march was called by the Tea Party. Stupidity seems to be the norm with the media these days, no less than ultra conservative politicians. Grow up and fly right.

    October 13, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  24. qazoo

    Will the real nuts of America please stand up. Look over that crowd people and you will see a common denominator. And it ain't a veteran link.

    October 13, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. nik green

    Obama is the continuation of the Cheney Presidency: Continuing the trashing of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, continuing the corporate takeover of public government, continuing to issue a blank check for banksters and financial crime cartels to keep despoiling the economy and ripping off the nation, continuing the warmongering legacy, continuing the corporate welfare spree of the out of control military-security-industrial complex, continuing to torture people whose guilt has not been established in a court of law (innocent until proven guilty), continuing the culture of fear, secrecy, unaccountability, corruption, and the continuation of the war against working and middle class America.

    Enough is enough. It's hight time to take the gloves off and reclaim this country from decades of abuse by the wrecking crew.

    October 13, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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