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. Anonymous

    Racists doing what racists do best....

    October 13, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  2. m

    Why did they have so many racist confederate flags at the rally?

    October 13, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  3. jjt35

    A woman was just arrested for spray painting the Lincoln Memorial with green paint. The park rangers are there to protect the monuments and the people in them. Anyone who assumes that no harm would come to the monuments or the people visiting them has already been proved wrong. Ungaureded national monuments and parks would be prime targets for some terrorist trying to make a political statement. The gaurds are furlowed because Cruz and Palin (and the rest of the Republicans who support shutting down government to force the government to be run their way) came up with a flawed strategy with no real idea of the true consequences. They are good for showing up in front of cameras with vets but not voting to keep the VA properly funded, GI benefits going out to people on time, etc. And they choose to associate with people who get on a mike and tell the POTUS to put down the koran and get up off of his knees? Just imagine what they say to each other when they aren't on a mike in public. The tea party has coddled, protected, affirmed, and welcomed the most ignorant and xenophobic and outright racist of this country. Political disagreement is one thing. But the ideology expressed at this event is toxic to our country.

    October 13, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  4. Bib Boogg

    Do you folks even read your hero's book? When growing up in Indonesia, he described the call to prayer as "the prettiest sound he's ever heard". Just sayin, is all. Read Dreams of my Father. Don't be mad. I didn't write it.

    October 13, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. Dave Brennet

    If we ever want a Republican run WH, we need the GOP to grow some brass and put a stop to the racist, xenophobic and demonic antics of the Tea Party. Otherwise, prepare for liberals to be in power for a long long long time. We have to come to grips with the fact that the US is a multi cultural country now and those are the people that put Obama in office. Acts such as this by the Tea Party that portray whites as superior and alienates everyone else only hurts the Republican Party. Please put a stop to the Tea Party or next it will be 8 years Hillary policies shoved down our throats.

    October 13, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  6. C. Thomas

    No disrespect to the veterans, it's just the politicians who orchestrated the whole mess showing a complete lack of self-awareness.

    October 13, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  7. RA Fonseca

    While this is a free country and one can say anything one wants, Mr Obama is our president, elected by our own rules, and he deserves our respect. By the way, I am a far right republican who voted for John McCain. While Mr Obama's ways about caring for our contry may not be my ways, I support him in that HE DOES CARE for our country.

    October 13, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  8. David

    I believe I saw a Marine Corps Flag flying at the confrontation in front of the White House? That man should be identified?

    God Speed,

    October 13, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  9. Larry L


    J"ust wondering if the left EVER holds Obama responsible for anything. Try using the same yard stick that you used on Bush on Obama."
    Great idea... Was President handed a robust economy only to trash it with a cut & spend economy and two un-funded wars? Nope. Has President purposefully falsified intelligence data to start a war that killed over 4,500 Service-members for no apparent cause? Nope. Did President Obama drop the ball in the fight against terrorists? Nope – he kills them like rats at the town dump. This is easy...

    I'm an old, white, retired Veteran of many years active duty service. I deeply appreciate our WWII Vets as our proudest generation. Still, I see those old Vets too frequently supporting the radical and racist activities of the Tea Party. Think of the days they were young folks forming their ideologies. They were raised in a different world. It is also much easier for that generation to stay in their safe zone and close their minds to change. The percentage of that group getting 100% of their information from the right-wing media is quite high. What should we expect? You can be an honored Veteran and also an angry, fearful, narrow-minded racist. I know some of them – so do you.

    October 13, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  10. james

    This will not be the protest to watch, it will be when the poor figure out Obamacare is not free.
    The government subsidy you get comes when filing your taxes. You have to pay for your Obamacare
    Premium up front. People living week to week will be ready to show their anger. And they will
    only have the Democrats to blame, as no republican voted for Obamacare. The Vet's might be mad
    but people trying to feed a family will have real anger to pass along.

    October 13, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  11. G-Mask

    so a black guy in office really scares these people? man i can't wait to see a black woman in office, i think they'd lose their minds with racist and sexist rants!

    October 13, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  12. rob

    Of course CNN would paint a Veteran's protest as Tea Party "crazies". Now how come do they use the words like "crazies, kooks, anarchists, terrorists" ASK yourself this. Remove your ideology and ask yourself "Why?" It's because the propaganda machine is in full swing and this type of reporting only shows the shills who are holding Obama's water and are known propagandists.

    Our founding fathers would have been accused by the same of those who supported the British (loyalists).

    October 13, 2013 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  13. KEH

    Ummm, as for the racist crap, I was THERE and there were plenty of vets and supporters who were NOT WHITE. Believe it or not, this was a rally for the vets, mostly those from WWII who were denied access to their own privately funded open air memorial. So there is the part of the story CNN chose not to tell you.

    October 13, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  14. TomNPitt

    Sara Palin, Ted Cruz and Larry Klayman are getting real close to being put in jail. You can only say so much and get away with the first amendment. When you start talking about overthrowing the government and talking crap about arresting the president – someone has to shut you a$$ up. What's Palin doing in Washington anyway? Nobody ever wants her in Washington! The true strength of the Tea Baggerz is their dishonesty and the inability to accept the truth. Obama IS American. He IS the President. And HE IS smarter than these idiots knocking over Government property to show what real citizens they are! They love this country so much they walk around saying how much they hate it!!

    October 13, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  15. randyb12

    Wow...Tea Party people are intensely mentally challenged - a testament to the successful dumbing down of America by the elite that control them.

    October 13, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  16. Wake Up America!

    Here we go again: My way or the Highway. White man speak with forked tongue. I have Native America Ancestry.
    History repeats self?
    I once read about a time in America when people fought to keep their slaves, they were good Christian folks, and they knew a heathen when they saw one: I think they're back...?

    October 13, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. RT Scott

    .... watch their faces when this Tea Party leader mentions Gandhi..... and by the way...

    From Wikipedia...
    One of the Gandhi's major strategies, first in South Africa and then in India, was uniting Muslims and Hindus to work together in opposition to British imperialism. In 1919–22 he won strong Muslim support for his leadership in the Khilafat Movement to support the historic Ottoman Caliphate. By 1924 that Muslim support had largely evaporated.[167][168]

    there is a special place in hell for people who mislead and manipulate the ignorant.... I feel very sad for these Tea Party people... I think the US needs to put back a law that insists ALL sides of any given story be covered by the news media...

    this isn't even a case of the tail wagging the dog.... these people are just chasing their tails going round and round in circles.... complete .insanity

    October 13, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  18. Derek

    Hysterical. If anything, Obama is an atheist.

    October 13, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  19. Jim

    It is like the hysteria in Dallas when Kennedy became President. The mink coat mob and an influential Baptist minister then. Convinced themselves that Kennedy was taking orders from the Pope and communist Russia. Today, its the same kind of scapegoating ignorant mob and Fox News. They believe every negative thing they hear about Obama, but guess what: the guy is almost a Republican. Almost every one of his major initiatives was originally promoted by Republicans. He has bent over backward to compromise with Republicans but they act like spoiled children and only play the media rather than sincerely trying to make policy. You knee jerk wing nuts and Tea Baggers are dumb and blind but mostly I wish you were mute.

    October 13, 2013 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    CNN you really miss the point of this march. You should look at it again. It was for the vets.

    October 13, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  21. Jvan

    The Tea Party is not about hate, not about greed, or racism. It is about freedom. The people in these pictures and videos are average Americans. There is not much diversity because they have been villified and labeled as racists by the Obama administration and media, so, many minorities are afraid of them or have unwarranted hate for them. We are losing our freedoms in this country people. The United States used to be looked upon as the greatest country in the world. Everyone wanted to come here. Then we started enacting more and more regulation, control, and social programs. We need to return to what made us great, freedom and rule by the people and for the people.

    October 13, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  22. Gene B

    Let's be clear here for all of you people on the right and the left that like to finger point. While there was a republican/tea party flavor to this event, me and my fellow independents went not to incite hatred for people on whatever twisted side you happen to be on, but because it was wrong. Keep pointing fingers and nothing will ever get done. But whatever side of the aisle you, without an independent thought may hail from, this was about vets and access to the memorials that we fought for. If you see it any differently then shame on you. We have no control who the media gravitates to, to increase their ratings and sell a story.

    October 13, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  23. arixskyblade

    China states it won't lend the U.S any more money and it wants all it's money back! Gov. default means millions of SSI., SSDI, welfare,unemployment checks won't get mailed... Most of the recipients live month to month rent, month to month foodstamps... By Nov. 30 there could be millions kicked out . Before then – there will be massive protests at EVERY state capitol building in the nation. At those protests, people who have a lot of money could hire people to disrupt those protests by civil disobedience... Mob mentality breaks out – Police called to put down the violent protest. Not enough police in some towns. Town council members call on gov. to send troops – Not enough troops... Troops recalled from middle east. Because terrorists know troops are leaving, they ramp up attacks against Christians and Isreal. Isreal is massively attacked. Isreal blames Iran. Exchange of armaments are exchanged. Nations line up to take sides. The biggest conflict takes place at the Plains of Megiddo.

    October 13, 2013 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  24. darwinfan9

    Wow, and the nuts keep coming out of the woodwork, just like craaazy roaches.

    October 13, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  25. Name. olden

    Obama will crumble US

    October 13, 2013 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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