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. Me, Myself and I

    I have been wondering this for days ... When did it become acceptable for grown adults to act like spoiled children?

    October 13, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  2. Greenspam

    Neither Palin nor Cruz were a veteran... what are they doing there?

    October 13, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  3. Chuck

    Do you (or your voluteer husband) have the inside info that the orders to close the national and memorial parks came directly from the WH? If so, please, educate us with your sources of information. If this is really true, then there would be far more indignation from across all groups. Trust you did not get this from Glen Beck or Limbaugh. Please share perhaps one credible link.

    October 13, 2013 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  4. David

    Freedom of Speech can be ugly. And these people are obviously upset. But thier anger is a bit misdirected. The lobbyist for the profiteers of the "status quo Health Care system" are the real force behind the bully tactics of The Shutdown and the dangerous dance with A Default. We currently spend way more on health care then any other country and get way less. I ask you, where does all that extra money go.? Hint: Somebody's pocket. And that somebody owns him some congressman.

    October 13, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  5. Tom

    What a joke. These people listening to Cruz after he almost single handedly shut down the Government and this Monument. These people are either not to bright or honest. Again, what a joke.

    October 13, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  6. Jon

    The "Tea Party" is a joke of a political movement. They never liked the idea of Obama in the White House, whether it be his race or his politics, and they can't even begin to understand how he got re-elected (gee, not everyone in this country is as dumb as a box of rocks). The more attention media outlets give to these "patriots" the more I grieve for my country and for our standard of journalism.

    October 13, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  7. Seaturtle123

    Notice the brightest and best of the tea party (Palin and Cruz) are there! What a ridiculous, uneducated group of insipid drips. Thank God they are the fringe element! Going to watch game change tonight and thank God that Palin gave the democrats the WH!

    October 13, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  8. happa

    Only Lib minded people would put down the activities and voices of these Patriots. These Patriots represent ONLY what we true Americans stand for. To think otherwise puts you in the same mindset and agenda as this man who is in charge of America. He has been given a huge unprecented and ultra controversial pass into the powers of the WH. Support and strengthen the voice and values of these Patriots.

    October 13, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  9. Brian

    To the people blaming Obama and saying they support the Veterans....I don't need you to. Im a veteran who served 24 years. I know whats going on. Evidently some of you should pick up a book and read instead of the blind following the blind.

    The power of the purse belongs to the House....which they are using as a extortion measure to get any and everything they want. This tactic has never been used, and definitely shouldn't be used now. They are playing with people lives and my check.

    They even admitted it!

    So how can people be so ignorant where people admit what they are doing......then have fighting within their party because some say it isn't right.....and people still blame the President.

    Stupid is as stupid does

    October 13, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Larry Klayman takes stupidity to heretofore unknown heights. Who is this guy, and who is it that says it is worthwhile to know what he is saying about anything.

    October 13, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Qur’an. Put the Qur’an down not Koran. Good god man, show some respect.

    October 13, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  12. American Taliban

    Quite clearly the Tea Party insurgents intend to wage war against America. These terrorist organizations must be stopped.

    October 13, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  13. Trevor

    This was a tea party rally against the shut down they caused! Just how stupid can they get.

    October 13, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  14. teri037

    Obviously CNN is downplaying the Veterans march at the request of the Spite House. There were not 'hundreds' of Veterans in attendence. There were a few thousand. Of course, CNN will not show those videos, nor will they report of how the DC Police blocked the doors of buses that were full of WWII vets, and refused to let them off of said buses. That's ok though CNN, keep reporting what the Spite House tells you too like a good little state run station, and watch your ratings continue to drop until it's a tie between you and MSNBC on who can get the least viewers. In the meantime, Fox's numbers just keep climbing....and we are to believe the majority don't agree with conservatives. The numbers don't lie, Obama's state run press lies.

    October 13, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  15. samsart

    Who used the veterans for a photo op? Those cut from the same cloth as Cruz. This has nothing to do with the real issues, but rather a fringe group attempting to cram their rhetoric down everyone's throats .

    October 13, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  16. Justin H

    The Tea Party people diminish their credibility with this kind of rhetoric. By continuing to refer to Obama as a Muslim, they make themselves a joke. And they are playing politics, or plain ignorant, if they think the closure of national monuments is in any way about trying to deny veterans. The closure of the monuments is about protecting them while the normal security is furloughed due to the shut down. It's not alienating vets. In fact, it's not making any statement about vets, it's just closed.

    While I don't have any problem with anyone going around a barricade to visit the open air monuments in DC – which is most of them, I do take issue with people turning it into something other than what it is.

    October 13, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  17. JM

    Who instigated the Federal Shutdown?

    October 13, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  18. Apache Driver

    There are several items that I find offensive. The first being that this news organization would use one individuals statement as the headline. Really? Additionally, instead of calling this public outcry of veterans for what it is, a demonstration by veterans, it was tagged as a "Tea Party" rally. At the same time that this demonstration was occurring, a protest of runners was occurring at the Valley Forge National Military Park. Was that "Tea Party" inspired? I doubt it. One individual insinuated a backhanded moniker of racial profiling by stating that we need to look at the crowd in the photos. As an amature photographer with some experience, a photo is like blinders on a horse; it limits the scope of your vision. As a veteran, I served proudly with people of all backgrounds. I have heard from many of these people as well, and to the last individual, they are all mad at the political "stalemate" that we find ourselves. Who do we blame? In the military, we are told that the commander is responsible for all activities in their units. As I see it, the Executive Branch falls under the Executive Office. The Legislative Branch falls under the two legislative bodies. In both cases, we put them there through our votes. This demonstration of veterans is a representation of the voice of those voters that are saying "enough is enough." As one former congressman told me, it is the responsibility of the governing body to come to terms with their differences and work things out, through negotiations. To say, I will talk but not until I get my way, is NOT negotiations.

    October 13, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. Cora

    Because of those Tea Party wacko birds we are in the mess we are in now !!! They have to be voted out 2014!!!They are bad for the country and do not live in the real world but in their own narrow minded world.
    Sent them to Syria see how they like the government there, maybe they will stop wining here.

    October 13, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  20. BeverlyNC

    Does no one care about FACTS?
    REPUBLICANS shut down the government and that has consequences they never thought through before this act of extortion. When the government shuts down – so do ALL government agencies and services – from feeding poor women and children, to closing ALL national monuments all the over the U.S. and ending benefits from military pay to death benefits to no loans to small businesses and so on.
    Want to blame someone for the monuments being shut? Look to the Republicans in Congress. When you shut down the government – you shut down ALL of it. President Obama has no control of the shutdown. Republicans started it and only they can end it because it is the JOB of the House to pay our debts (as stated in the Constitution) and they are refusing.
    This Tea Party rally egged on by a sitting Senator and a failed Palin is the ultimate betrayal of our government. Carrying Confederate flags and demanding the President "come out with his hands up" are actions of traitors of our government. Their level of insanity, prejudice, and false information is forever astounding.
    Remember this in 2014 and how the Tea Party is a direct threat to our nation and so are those who sit in Congress. Vote them out so we can take our nation back and let actual rational leaders uphold their oath to serve the People and to uphold and defend our Constitution.

    October 13, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  21. Constitutional Republic

    Hateful tea party rally? What r u people talking about? There was no one shitting on cop cars, raping women, bricks in windows like occupy wall street!!!!! Oh and they all took showers before showing. In fact NO ARRESTS! You people need to know what the hell u r talking about before posting...

    October 13, 2013 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  22. Casey Collins

    I guess the teapublican's are the judge of this world and know everyone's heart? If they are Christian, then I am not. What ever happened to love thy neighbor? The hate that is spewed from these people, is absolutely NOT Christian and an embarrassment to those who truly are.

    Stop pretending you are! You are wolves in sheep's clothing.

    October 13, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  23. Raven

    Yea RIGHT!!! the quran has nothing to do with the govt shutdown, so whoever tried to involve the quran in this is an idiot. i understand that people get emotional about this but blame the govt not my quran.
    thank you
    -proud us marine and a muslim

    October 13, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  24. Steve

    Tea party are just a bunch of non thinking followers ! It's just old, tired , failed ideas that they are trying to bring back. it is the dumbing of America folks. I do not know if i should laugh or cry when i hear them speak !.

    October 13, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  25. googs64

    Very CNN-like to portray a conservative march as a bunch of old right-wing terrorists doing nothing but slandering Obama. Obama's a whiner plain and simple. He won't sit down and stamp out a deal. He wants his way then whines when the House wants their own way. Grow up and lead Obama!

    October 13, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
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