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. Anthony

    Read history books about Watergate, now lets start talking about "obamaGate" as was said in a previous article somewhere's online. It does have a familiar tune to it. Why is his color makeing any difference. It seems that only racist keep bringing that up, and white "Americans" are not the only racist = black-panthers, dc?, and other groups as well, like the street gangs in major cities. That does include hispanic too. So you racist quit bringing the race deal.

    October 13, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  2. 911Survivor

    Disgusting behavior today by individuals who could not pass a basic civics class. This group does not represent Americans. This is the result of well-funded hatred and opposition to democracy. It is far past time to arrest these traitors and charge them with treason. Time in prison and remedial citizenship programs may help these hate groups what Americans really believe and stand for.

    October 13, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  3. Welsh

    Interesting that one man's comment taken from today's rally ultimately became CNN's lead in for the event. I guess CNN wants to discredit the assembly of WWII vets, our parents and grandparents, the brave men and women who served in decades past, and whom still serve today. What a joke.

    October 13, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  4. Debbie

    I was a Republican over 35 years. This is not conservatism but flat out reactionary that the TEA is treading on treason led by Cruz and funded by Koch Bro. This is not conservatism but seeking a riot. It is an attack on democracy. It is an attack on the right to peaceful protest. I am now an Independent but will not vote GOP from Mayor to President unless the moderates in GOP take the party back. Otherwise I would be aiding and abetting traitors.

    October 13, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. PrayerBurden

    I am SHOCKED. Not at the PEACEFUL demonstration today (unlike the illegal Occupy Wall Street thing). I am shocked at how blind many of you here are to what is happening to our Republic. Evil no longer does things in secret, but shouts it out to many media like this one, who gleefully carries it out, never caring if it is truth or lies. Then many of the sheep like I see on here lap it up gladly. You all spew hatered and add on to the division and lies. Our country is being shaken. The whole WORLD is being shaken and our country will NEVER be the same when all is laid bare. You all will be thinking differently when all the lies are exposed. I urge you to think for yourself and ignore what the government is telling news media to say. Never have I seen such DISRESPECT of our veterans. I have not heard of such disrespect since Vietnam. SHAME on media like this. You are NOT news.. you are just a propaganda outlet for the government. You are supposed to deliver news.... not YOUR VIEW of the news. Shame shame shame on you!

    October 13, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  6. Bobby

    Yall are all blind idiots.....Truly blind, idiots..cant see what is happening, why these people are there protesting...Because its not a Liberal agenda protest...If it was for Womens Reproductive RIghts, you would all be there with them...expressing your belief in killing a child...but because these Vets, that fought to give you the right to your opinion are doing something you dont agree with..You think they are crazy...Truly sad what the Democratic party has become...Not the Democratic party my grandparents voted and fought for.....

    October 13, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. M

    The "Million Vet March on the Memorials," may not have had a million people in Washington but if you add up all the veterans and people that protested in other cities all over the country there were well over a million. It is sad that veterans have to come to this just to see their own monuments. We are not being racist, we are just fed up with the political people that are taking away things that belong to veterans. Like them stopping the disabled vets monthly payment that they earned from sacrificing their lives in a war to protect your rights. Please open up your eyes and really see whats going on.

    October 13, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. Kathy

    Just ANOTHER whacko representative of the Republican Party. And then they wonder why they're going down the tubes.

    October 13, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. Gene

    Personally, I'd like to thank the speaker for making a point that many have been pointing out since the advent of the pee-party. The point is that this group is like certain cakes, full of fruits & nuts.

    October 13, 2013 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  10. Rose

    Great job yet again, CNN, on providing nothing but biased information. These were veterans peacefully utilizing their freedom. When did this become a subject of shame and ridicule? I find it hard to believe that the reporter of this article had time or gave any effort on actually finding out whether this had anything to do with a political party, but yet the blind and ignorant will read this and believe it as the truth. Well, if you didn't ask, and you were not told then how do you know that these veterans were all from a specific political party?. I'll tell you when, it all started when you forgot that your job is to report the truth whether it makes your employers money or not, it all started when you figured most Americans as ignorant that will gladly let themselves be led by your deceiving practices, assumptions and politically guided misinterpretation of reality. Shame on you CNN, and on all of those blind and truly uneducated people that still believe you still have an ounce of responsibility, integrity, professionalism or ethics when it comes to reporting to the American people. Shame on you, CNN.

    October 13, 2013 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  11. Phelix Unger

    Its a terrible event that took place at the behest of the republican party. I feel for those that wish to visit lost loved ones and friends, to turn something as sacred as those memories into a media circus is revolting. The fact that they can get ordinary citizens to actually feel that they need to hate others over their political believes is just sad. Republicans are the voice of the corporate world and couldn't care one way or another about veterans, unless they use them in ads. Its good for the corporate image. Real change is needed in the political arena, there is this thing called the internet and it should be used to talk with one voice, then maybe the meat heads in office can go to work for the people.

    October 13, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  12. Patholitical

    So, all of Obama's brownshirts are out trolling another one of the DNC' s official propaganda outlets to regurgitate the same old hate they read over at the last echo chamber. So much blind faith for a failed administration, you wonder if liberals think for themselves. When you're coddled and protected by the court eunuchs of the media, I guess this is what you get. To be a leftist is to be both narcissistic and self-loathing. Sad.

    October 13, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  13. Joanna King

    FYI....The Tea Party took advantage of the "Million Vet March" for their own agenda. You are such a disappointment in that you are no longer actually reporti9ng the real news. The real news is that thousands of fed up real folks were protesting the way the gov is treating our vets and all you report is that the "Tea Party" were there. Get over yourselves and start doing your job the way its supposed to be. Report the real news.

    October 13, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  14. sbaldwin

    Best we smile but be careful as there some sick individuals in the tea party, the minority are well intended but teh majority are composed of unhappy people or social climbers, some are even still fighting the Civil war , the we have those who use others such as Rand, Cruz to try and gain power and of course they are puppets or they would not get in, Tea Party memebrs would block them out, as for Sarah Palin come on be serious do your home work on the woman, not exactly waht we need and we handled that quick enough, I was a member of same party but once I saw that we the people did not matter but that power, control and ignorance primed and that quite a few other Republicans have a disdain for the Tea Party but are smart enough to kep it in house, as one Republican said, Tea Party will never get the majority vote in America we have come too far to allow a group of radicals with the worng intentions take us back 200 years. Wow says a lot! Cruz is a pawn so i am not concerned about him as he will eventually wear his welcome out but he is tying to be an opportunist but most are aware he is out for himself and could care less about abything or anyone else oytside of those behind him, Tea Party!!!!! His actions and words regarding heckling were like a ten year old child, he is not the first nor the last to be heckled reagrdless fo whih party you are with.

    October 13, 2013 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  15. Kip W

    It's obvious from those posting here that even though the GOP shut down the government and all its activities (minus some unshuttable exceptions), it's still incumbent upon the administration to do it in a way that doesn't bother any conservatives. Yes, shut down the cancer hospitals, but be absolutely sure that if there's a Republican kid in there, he should get special care. Close the people who monitor food poisoning and epidemics, but be sure to spare any Republican constituencies when you do.

    Sure, somebody has to suffer in these things. Just make sure that it's the party that believes in government; the party that didn't vote to shut it all down; the party that tries to help people. They're the ones who should be hurt. That's only fair, right guys?

    October 13, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  16. Patinalazina

    One of the problems (among many) in the US is that there are MANY predjudiced people walking the streets. They have and never will accept a black President. Some of the protests are really transparent. The protestors would never say and write the things they do about a white President. The haters are out and they won't stop until a white President is elected. What does this say about us as People? Very sad and I'm ashamed because the world is watching us.

    October 13, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  17. Books Will Save The Planet

    There is the far right, the far left and then the rest of us who have the vision and intelligence to wade through the BS and make decisions that help us recover from the battle of the dumb and dumber influences.

    Obama has a weakness when dealing with radical Islam, and a misguided support of the Muslim Brotherhood that fact is true, on the flip side the Tea Party politicians are maze mice chasing cheese bits that lead them directly to where the Tea Party wants them to be.

    Vote out the whole of DC, it is the only way to kill the virus that is destroying America.

    October 13, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  18. Omar

    I thought we had the freedom to choose what faith and what religious books to read in this country, without being told to put a book down?

    October 13, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  19. Steve

    Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin rallying against a government shutdown is like OJ Simpson rallying against murderers.

    October 13, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  20. Jason

    These people are shameless! Grandstanding at monuments? Just when you thought the Republicans couldn't stoop any lower. My father fought in WWII and was a lifelong Democrat and if he was still alive he would be disgusted at these politicians using veterans for their own purposes.

    October 13, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  21. No one

    If the GOP keeps catering to the insane, the stupid, and especially the very old they'll be irrelevant in 2016 and extinct by 2020.
    They may keep a few house seats in 2014 with their redistricting. but they will be laughed at in every general election in the future.

    October 13, 2013 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  22. Chris

    Just because you are a veteran, doesn't mean you cannot be called out for idiotic comments. Obama is a Christian. Wake up and educate yourself. Otherwise, deal with the criticism that you are an idiot.

    October 13, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  23. don in albuquerque

    @Patricia-Proof? Doubt it.

    October 13, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  24. juanmoretime

    The republican party has gone so far right, it fell off a cliff. Don't throw them a rope and wait for the sound.

    October 13, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  25. KC

    It certainly is interesting watching the US tear itself apart on just about every level. You gouge and tear at each other's flesh and condemn each other. You do know you're making a laughing stock of yourselves to the rest of the world, don't you? The Tea Partiers are whack jobs, say one thing and then act another way but you still support people like Cruz. Cruz doesn't want you to have health care but through your tax dollar support he has a solid gold (not gold plated) plan through this wife's job at Goldman Sachs. (Goldman Sachs can deduct any contribution they make to their employees health care). And Patricia could you please provide the memo, briefing notes, etc. that said the shut down was orchestrated from the WH? It would be good to see to back up your rumor, totally started by you.

    October 13, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
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