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. Jimmie

    We have Veterans to listen to that Bull S.

    October 13, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  2. Jd

    CNN, why do you even give these people any coverge at all?

    October 13, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Does anyone understand that this was not organized by ANY political party or affiliation? This was organized by Military Veterans. To accuse them of such horrible things degrades all they have sacrificed and endured. To those throwing insults at them, you have your right to do so, just look in a mirror tomorrow morning and think of what you said.

    October 13, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  4. Dane

    I find it funny reading the comments saying Obama shut down the national monuments...Last I checked the national monuments are funded by the Federal budget and Article I, section 9, clause 7 of the US constitution says that CONGRESS passes a budget... So no budget = no federal funding = no money to run the monuments.

    October 13, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  5. Watchfuliiiii

    And these are the people the republicans are listen to? And they blame the democrats. Unbelievable.

    October 13, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  6. blacknwhite

    Don't think we should speak disrespectfully of president, but I absolutely think he is heading us toward totalitarianism and gov't controlling our lives. Some are happy for that so they don't have to take responsibility to earn their own living. I don't like him because he condones and gives money toward organizations that perform the slaughter of unborn babies as though they are nothing, nothing at all. Right up to nine months. I I believe there is no blessing on his presidency, only confusion.

    October 13, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  7. Clark W. Griswold

    Larry Klayman – the face of everything that is wrong and stupid in America.

    October 13, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  8. Kevin

    Lies, hate racism....is anyone else hearing echoes of McCarthy? I remember reading a quote from a master political manipulator who said the quickest way to discredit your opponent was to label them unpatriotic. Some guy by the name of Joseph Goebbels. Very persuasive man. Very charismatic. Very dangerous.

    October 13, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  9. MightyMoo

    I guess the Tea Party is against freedom of religion when it isn't their religion. Never mind the fact that Obama is a Christian. Scary that these people actually got power, really scary since the difference of reality and fantasy is lost on them.

    October 13, 2013 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  10. jimicocobop

    '.....one protester yelling out "punk" to describe the president"

    Wow, I'll bet that hurt. What a class act. I'll bet his voice cracked when he said punk.

    October 13, 2013 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  11. Sam

    Radicals like these people will be the end of the Republican Party.

    October 13, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  12. Don

    An exaggerated on-line presence for the TEA Party is achieved through organized groups that work diligently to subvert any non-conservative content by burying it, harassing comment sections, and making false reports of abuses, or violations of terms, while pushing content generated by the right-wing echo chamber (and the lobbying firms that support them and write their talking points), referenced only by right-wing data sources, through multitudes of sock-puppet (fake) accounts run by a relatively small group of conservative ideologues.

    October 13, 2013 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  13. The Watcher

    We are clearly the laughing stock of the entire world. How can we be an example of hope for the rest of the world, when we cannot work together to solve our own problems here at home? I'm tired of the blame game on both sides. Start acting like adults and get the job done. There are too many people suffering for the sake of a few egos. This is just some immature sandbox babbling mess. Sad time for America.

    October 13, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  14. dave

    The libs are running out of excuses....

    October 13, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  15. A Bucci

    OMG its very scarey to see the government acting this way towards its veterans.
    The Germans were prepared for the vets when they landed on the beach at Normandy (see saving private Ryan) Does Anyone think some barricades can stop them?
    If you never been to the memorial you may think the park police have a big job emptying trash cans. What we spent on all those riot police, could have paid for a few guys to empty trash at the memorial in honor of the blood of over 500,000 vets

    October 13, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  16. Cham

    @ Don, you are absolutely right. I think United States belongs to everyone and the Tea Party needs to stop attacking the president and show him respect. Their hearts are still itching from Obama's victory to lead the country to a second term. I'am black and i am in the military, i am proud to serve the people of the united states, and i believe that every american is my brother, and or sister.; and i would never say hatred words to no one.

    October 13, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  17. Eli

    They're telling President Obama to end the shutdown and reopen the parks and memorials? Do they truly not realize that it's the republicans in congress who are shutting down the government and this has been their plan since 2011? They voted in the representatives who have shut down the government and now they're protesting against the shut down that they voted for in 2011.

    October 13, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  18. Tony

    Man, these crazy Tea Party idiots have no shame. With Cruz and Grandma Palin waving the Conferderate flag. I pray our president stay safe. We all know what they do when they can't winn democratically. Cue MLK, Kennedy, and Abe Lincoln.

    October 13, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  19. BJack

    What a bunch of tools! Follow sheep, follow Sam I am, follow him and don't eat green eggs and ham. In the end you will be left with nothing and wonder where he went that ol Sam I am!

    October 13, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  20. danjacmom

    Tea party followers are being duped, wake up and think for yourselves!

    October 13, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  21. Flashman

    One of the protesters at the White House was waving the Confederate battle flag. Not hard to connect the dots.

    October 13, 2013 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  22. skeen-ka

    Trailing end of evolution, these people.

    October 13, 2013 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  23. David Hubbard

    As a registered Republican who votes as an Independant, it is truly amazing how the Liberal voices in this comment section say nothing BUT devisive, vitriolic comments towards people who were veterans that put their lives on the line for this country. Most of the Liberal voices in this Comments section have never served for their country by offering to put their lives at risk to protect the rights of the citizens of this great country. No, truth is, most Liberals are the ones that are putting this country at great risk of default. They do this by taking all they can get from our government so that they don't have to work to realize the American dream. The Democratic Party used to stand for what was right for the citizens of this country. John Kennedy once said, "Ask not what you can get from your country, but what can you DO for your country".Tthat is no longer the standard for the Democratic Party. No the standard for the New Democratic Party is to get this once great country to the One World Socialist Party. I, as a veteran, believe like other veterans that this movement IS AGAINST everything we fought for.

    October 13, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  24. Ed

    The most frustrating thing for mainstream Republicans is that Boehner keeps listening to the Cruz / Palin crowd. It's like he's getting messages from outer space, and needs a new tinfoil hat.

    October 13, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  25. Don

    "During your tenure in the Senate we have no doubt that you voted in a way which you felt was appropriate. Unfortunately, our great nation can no longer afford compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous,"

    Twenty Tennessee-based tea party and conservative groups published an open letter to Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) urging him to retire August 15, 2013

    October 13, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
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