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. el rob o

    Obama and the democrats are complete idiots! There is only ONE reason NPS would shut down the memorials and we all know it's to harass conservatives. The democratic/obama agenda is solely to divide Americans and piss off his enemy (conservatives-his words). Even democrats are too prideful to see the role they play in dividing America... obama's plan from day one!

    October 13, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  2. CowboyUpAmerica

    U all will regret keeping the obummer in office...We are coming for you...

    October 13, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  3. Zwei Stein

    They will say and do anything...ANYTHING to make the Pres look bad. They will even make the citizenry (a part of it anyway) of the US look and sound like imbeciles I'm a veteran who gave 24 yrs, and those people embarrass me! They pretend like they served in the same US military that I did. For the same United States of America that I did.

    October 13, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  4. tired

    it is incredible that there are really people this crazed and ignorant. beam me up, scotty. I don't think I can take much more of stunted genomes.

    October 13, 2013 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  5. Name

    Funny cnn you left out most were veterans. It was a veterans march.

    October 13, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  6. SmartPotato

    Ignorance and racism are alive and well in 2013.

    October 13, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  7. Marian

    Just Pray for our Country

    October 13, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  8. Robert

    It really looks like some of our Vets got suckered into a protest under the disguise of "a peaceful visit to the monuments". Somebody should be ashamed and it's not the president.

    October 13, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  9. Tag9

    Another episode in "The Dumbing Down of America".

    October 13, 2013 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  10. Name

    My thought is this. If there ate people working to place the barricades and keep them up, why not just work to allow visitors? If they are not working because they are not being paid, then why ate they working?

    October 13, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  11. Shalom

    Let them married . Cruze and Sarah they looks like good couple to destroy America.

    October 13, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  12. John S.

    Larry Clayman is not a believer in freedom. He believes in freedom as he understands it. And that means Larry Clayman and his crowd will "tell" you what freedom means. He talks peace. He does not mean that.
    He means if you do not believe as Larry Clayman believes - at the end of the day - Larry Clayman will use force.
    –>Thats' not freedom. That's tyranny - That's un-American - very unAmerican

    October 13, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    I have to send a $5K to the Tea Party.They have courrage.

    October 13, 2013 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  14. Jim Egged

    I don't get it. The House Republicans shut down the government with a well laid plan starting with the the Meadows letter to Boehner identifying a shutdown as their means of achieving a redress for tbeir grievance and points then point a finger the other way. To me they are cowards not patriotic.

    October 13, 2013 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  15. rswon

    I know several people who are Tea Party members. They are surprisingly well educated. But their grasp of reality when it comes to politics is mind numbing. They literally get all of their information from Fox news and Rush Limbaugh. It is both sad and terrifying. Sad because they should know better. Terrifying because there are so many like them.

    October 13, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  16. Kim

    Go back to your caves.

    October 13, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  17. Andy Klein

    First, he was a follower of a black liberation CHRISTIAN church that was full of radicals under the spell of Reverend Jeremy Wright. Today, he's accused of being a Muslim.

    These people really are idiots.

    October 13, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  18. TheyRallNUTS

    But these are some of the same "idiot" politicians and their minions who mocked service men and women who complained about unsafe and dangerous equipment and conditions while serving in Iraq under the Bush regime. Recall the right wing conservative radio talk show host who said something to the effect of "They volunteered didn't they?" When military serving in Iraq complained about dangerous and unsafe conditions. Rumsfeld basically told them to "stop the whining?" Now, all of a sudden, conservative right wingnuts are loving on the military? How can anyone with a brain allow themselves to be duped by these charlatans?

    October 13, 2013 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  19. Ted

    This group of Christian extremists are the biggest threat to the security and future of this country! The fact that any one takes them seriously, that they get coverage on the news sites like CNN and most frightening, that they have politicians in Congress is truly terrifying! For the good of future of the United States, the sooner Republicans distance themselves from this collection of angry bigots the better!

    October 13, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  20. GI Joe

    Oh – he's under indictment in Arizona for child molestation. Thought I recognized the name and face.

    October 13, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  21. corpsman

    And to Patricia: Plenty of us vets voted for Obama, and plenty who didn't still support our representative democratic republic as laid out in the Constitution of the United States of America. Obama won the election fair and square, and is our legitimate president. If you don't like it, feel free to move to Cuba. I hear the weather there is pleasant.

    October 13, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    I don't care who it is, what their politics are, or who they worship... I'm just glad to see SOMEONE stand up to this thug. If ANY other Pres had done one nth of the crap this guy and his 'organizers' (aka THUGS) have pulled he'd have been OUT.
    Not sure how I feel about all the Tea Party policies, but the way I see it, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

    October 13, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  23. Terry in Florida

    This, THIS is what is destroying America. This hate, this bile wretched hate! When will this end, when will we start working together? FOR CHRISTS SAKE WE ARE COUNTRYMEN! ONE NATION, UNDER GOD. Our leaders and legislators need to take a good, hard look and see what they are doing to the rest of us. There should be no Conservative vs. Liberal, no rich vs. poor, no black vs. white STOP THIS MADNESS. Stop tearing us apart, for soon as you realize it, it will be rabid frothing people like these that tear down the walls of the White House and tear YOU apart! America is angry and desperate, WE NEED LEADERS, NOT PUPPETS WHO ARGUE ABOUT ALL DAY LIKE PUNCH AND JUDY!

    October 13, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  24. Anon

    interesting how so-called Christians judge others when The Bible clearly says not to (in the New Testament, at that). also, interesting how Republicans are quick to place blame on Democrats and vice versa. also, interesting how folks blame the President for national park closures (and most of them are open-air, duh). also, interesting how Republicans are getting in front of cameras with veterans to "open memorials". not taking anything away from veterans who fought for this country, but what about the others affected by this shut-down; those whose income isn't coming in, who have to choose between their medications and feeding their families; those who are retired and are relying on their social security, which, by the way, is from money taken from their paychecks while they were working; oh yeah, and the veterans who rely on their pension and health care? what about the children who must go hungry? we can play political ping-pong all day, and dance in front of cameras, but how many of those on the Hill are giving up their paychecks and health care while they bicker like school children? there are a few giving up paychecks. i want the same type of health care that those elected officials have.

    October 13, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  25. ephemeroptera1

    The individuals in the background wearing Vietnam Veteran baseball caps make me embarrassed to be a military veteran. Cruz makes me embarrassed to be a Texas. Palin makes me embarrassed to be a human.

    October 13, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
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