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. zp

    Sorry to see these white ppl only crowd!

    October 13, 2013 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  2. Free thought

    Another my myth is better than your myth moment. Brought to you by the imaginary 2 party system.

    October 13, 2013 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    So much easier to hate and oppose than to govern and lead.

    October 13, 2013 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  4. Evergreen

    I hope the remembered to leave the park as clean as they found it. The parks are closed because there is no one to maintain the parks because the workers were considered non-essential.

    October 13, 2013 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  5. Peter

    Wait a minute here. I thought the tea party wanted to shut down the government. For the first time in their existence, they actually accomplished something, and now they won't even take credit for it?

    October 13, 2013 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  6. Raymond

    So sad.. one of the greatest presidents the United States has seen and this is how we show our appreciation. Elected not once but twice, not just by the electoral college but by popular vote. Created close to 6 million new jobs. Ended two wars, prevented two new wars (Iran and Syria) passed health care reform (upheld by the supreme court) and looked good doing it.

    Let's for a second assume he is Muslim. How is that remotely relevant? He is the president of the United States. Disagree with his policies all you like, but don't disrespect the office.

    October 13, 2013 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  7. Go J

    I am so glad this was posted for all of the world to see. Ignorance and pure hatred are why we can't get anything accomplished in this government. This President has tried everything possible to fix the damage that was done by the previous Administration to no avail. To restore the economy from the brink of disaster and more importantly restoring some credibility to the USA is all he has tried to do. Anyone with any common sense knows why this President is constantly attacked and disrespected in every forum across this Country. The one saving grace in my opinion is that he was ELECTED by the people twice. That gives me; I mean my children, hope that the ignorant people in this video will fade away just as the so called Patriots of the past who used fear and intimidation to divide this country. May God help us.

    October 13, 2013 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  8. Scott Simmons

    CNN... I'm now only going to get my news from Reuters because you no longer even know what news is.....

    October 13, 2013 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  9. CM46

    They should be picketing Congress – they are a little mixed up. as to how government works.

    October 13, 2013 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  10. Anne

    It is curious to me that Ted Cruz who was raised by a minister and SHOULD know the Bible well continues to condone the disrespect and hatred shown by these people. The Bible (Rom 13:1) Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God.
    Rom 13:2 So the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment.
    These folks scare the wits out of me. They claim to be Christians and spew such awful words against our president. I wasn't a fan of GWB, BUT I respected the office of President, and the position. This is scary.

    October 13, 2013 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  11. Name

    i hope this country falls

    October 13, 2013 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain

    All this rally proves is there are a lot of vets who left their smarts on the battlefield.

    October 13, 2013 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  13. Gspecial

    By refusing to give in to the GOP's demands to reverse the Affordable Care Act Obama is doing his job. The Affordable Care Act is LAW. Obama was voted into office and won a 2nd term. If people didn't want Obama care they wouldn't have re-elected him. For the GOP to ask Obama to change laws in order to keep the government open is unpatriotic. If democrats were doing something like this I'd be just as quick to criticize them. GOP: Do your job. Keep the government open. If you don't like Obama care use legal means and the voting system to undo it. If you really want to help veterans support the Affordable Care Act.

    October 13, 2013 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  14. dennis

    All you liberals should stop complaining about the conservatives or they might just get so mad and take their money and stop paying for your social services since their the only ones not on the dole!

    October 13, 2013 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  15. Chris

    Do these people not know the difference between the Executive and Legislative branches?

    Oh whoops, it's the Tea Party. I almost forgot ...

    October 13, 2013 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  16. bill

    Dear God the horror

    October 13, 2013 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  17. BLE7481

    "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."

    Yeah, let's not start getting into some crazy notions like the general public having First Amendment rights. Or, for that matter, that the public owns national parks and monuments - what do we think those are, public property or something?

    October 13, 2013 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  18. Me

    Funny, Cruz is one of the main reasons for the shutdown! What am imbecile!!!

    October 13, 2013 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  19. Blue

    When I think that Cruz has reached the lowest point, here he comes with something that is even more stupid. Cruz and Palin are dangerous people along with the other Tea Party nuts. It is hard for me to believe that we have the meanest people in Congress. They do not even make sense, and the general Tea Party has gone over the edge. If this is the way that so called Christians act, they should put down the Bible.

    October 13, 2013 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  20. Ellistrae

    Laughing my behind off at the person who called Obama "muslin" in the comments. Muslin is a type of fabric. Not quite what they were going for, I'm guessing. Sheesh.

    October 14, 2013 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  21. srjsac

    It is a sad situation that there is even one person in this country that believes the president is Muslim at his point in Obama's presidency. And for Palin and Cruz to cosign this BS tells exactly who they are.

    October 14, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  22. Disgusted Southerner

    Glad to see CNN described this rally for what it was, a hate-filled group of extremists, screaming racist demands at the president of the United States. Disgusting, anyone who supports the GOP should have been embarrassed today.

    October 14, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  23. Douglas Hyde

    And these hate mongers call themselves Christians? Give me a break

    October 14, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  24. Carol

    Regardless of the fact that Obama has declared that he is a Christian, why would it matter if he was Muslim? What is more American than embracing people who use their American freedom to practice any religion they want?

    October 14, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  25. Ranger Dan Parsons

    "To question another man's patriotism, is the last vestige of a scoundrel". Samuel Jackson 1815. It is also the standard modus operandi of the tea party. Pathetic racist fools.

    October 14, 2013 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
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