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. JC

    So, because these vets want to visit the memorials, we're supposed to leave them open and completely unprotected? Did you people forget about the vandal who went around throwing green paint recently?

    October 14, 2013 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  2. achepotle

    ooo...a 200 man march...scary!

    October 14, 2013 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  3. CARV

    The Tea Party is the epitome of unbridled demagogy. This is sickening.

    October 14, 2013 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  4. Skeptic

    The Constitution protects the rights of stupid people to protest. It's good that we get to see them out in the open like this.

    October 14, 2013 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  5. King Peter

    As a Christian, a veteran, and a taxapayer, I'm going to say something shocking. I'd rather have the VA open than have a national park open. It's ridiculous that with everything else going on, we've allowed the focus to be shifted to national parks and monuments being open. Calling the President of the United States a muslim? Saying he wasn't born in the country? What's CHRIST-like about this behavior? I never read "And Jesus hated black people" anywhere in the Bible. I pray for the people who are fooled by people like Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz every night, but the hate just keeps on growing. Maybe their hatred is the vessel that will ensure that we actually start paying attention to who we elect. At this rate, the good things about real conservative policies will be choked out by the hatred and extremism within the party. The country needs fiscal accountability as well as programs that help the needy...

    October 14, 2013 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  6. buongiorno

    everyone needs to tend to their own bussiness

    October 14, 2013 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  7. CN

    @Patricia, yes, obviously that must be true, since hearsay is always extremely reliable. a friend of the brother of my cousin says that they were there when palin and cruz toasted and said, "we're screwing the middle class, all according to plan." so it MUST be true, right?

    October 14, 2013 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  8. Kandi Andreason

    Wow CNN. I use your site for honest and unbiased news and information. I am shocked. This is a major event in the history of this country and it reads lime an article from a gossip column on the ladies Sunday tea gathering.

    October 14, 2013 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  9. Put down the Quran

    “In ancient times and in our times, Muslim communities have been at the forefront of innovation and education.” – Barack Hussein Obama.

    Two weeks ago the Islamic terrorist organization Boko Haram (western education is bad), entered a college dormitory and slaughtered 50 sleeping students.

    Obama, put down the Quran.

    October 14, 2013 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  10. Anonymous

    this kind of stupid and irrational and un logical behavior does nothing but drive many GOP voters to the Democrats.

    These types of GOPers are so stupid they can't even recognized how del destructive they arr.

    October 14, 2013 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  11. Andacar

    Interesting. For years the Tea Party has been rallying, screaming and carrying badly written signs saying that the government was restricting their freedom and needed to be dismantled. They elected zealous young representatives to carry out their desires for “less government = more freedom.” The zealots have done so. The government is now partially shut down. Mission accomplished. Now the Tea Party is rallying again; this time to get the government back, and they and blame The President for all of this.

    October 14, 2013 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  12. Harriet

    Veterans ... history is well documented, it is not a fairy tale. Remember Muhammad Ali said that the Vietcong did not refer to him by a racial epithet that so many of his countrymen were so happy to do.

    Remember General Patton looked at the African-Americans who served under him with contempt (his grandfather was a Confederate after all), so much so that African-Americans who died under his command received no medals (notably those who fought in the Battle of the Bulge) ... Veterans they may be, Holy, many thou art not ...


    October 14, 2013 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  13. Another Voice

    Klayman's rhetoric - which demonstrates either deliberate ignorance or a total disregard for facts - is why so many people have come to regard the Tea Party as a party for those that prefer stupid, easy slogans vs complex but more useful and accurate thinking. Why are there so many people in this country that consider factual research and critical thinking to be bad things?

    October 14, 2013 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  14. For the Duration

    This guys idiotic remarks are auto-rejected by me, when he mentions the Quran for immature shock value. What a loser. Trying to bring religion into this is a desperate move.

    October 14, 2013 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  15. Zak

    Why is this news? Unimportant idiot says idiotic thing. Giving these people a front page mention is giving them strength... you can't let bigots and the uninformed think they have a "movement".

    The worst about the Tea Party is how embarassing they are to Libertarians (I am neither). Someone who absolutely believes in "freedom" the way the Tea Party claims to wouldn't care what religion the president is.

    October 14, 2013 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  16. phazon

    How about this from day one of Obama being president they didn't want to work with him on anything from unemployment to immigration they do not want him to be a successful president because they know if a black man can be a successful president then other black presidents will come forth they are doing this on purpose to scare any future black man for running for office that is one of the true goals sure Obama is just as bad as them but for different reasons but there reasons are much more evil and hateful they would rather hold the whole country hostage rather than let one black man get any success as president that is awfully sad.

    October 14, 2013 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  17. Fritz Hohenheim

    Let me get this straight: The right wingers are against government EXCEPT the parts of the government they like like memorial parks, veterans benefits etc? What a pathetic bunch of hypocrites

    October 14, 2013 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  18. C Smith

    Hypocrite..see Ted Cruz. Same person who spent 20 hours holding up the government now acts like he has no role in the shutdown. His political career will go the way of Sarah Palin. People need to know facts...and many GOP and all Tea Party members are hoping to rip the foundation of America.

    October 14, 2013 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  19. BlackBelt

    WOW, reading all of these comments. I really understand why this country is in the mess it is in right now because of you people for the most part. I would like to address a person on here by the name of "Two Face", fitting name by the way. You had said, "The tea party is ridiculous. They whine about the government while cashing their social security checks.", I imagine you were insinuating by this comment that they complain about the government that in the kindness of there heart, they give these folks a social security check. For us working folks we have a social security tax taking out of everyone one of our checks while we are working, so when we retire, we have income to live on. We pay for ever red cent that we receive with these social security check we receive, its not a hand out, entitlement, or anything else on that line, we earned that money by the sweat of our brow. And most never receive the full amount they paid in over there lifetime because they pass away.

    CNN, I pray someday you tell the news like it is and unbiased. But doubt that will happen. The things that happened in DC this weekend were amazing!!!!!

    To finish, all those of you that think the Tea Party and Christians are the enemy, all I can do is pray for you and hope you see the light. May God Bless you all in Jesus's Holy Name!

    October 14, 2013 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  20. Mopery

    I always get a good laugh out of the Koch brothers' muppet automatons.

    October 14, 2013 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  21. Vinh Pho

    I feel embarrass to live in the same state as Ted Cruz

    October 14, 2013 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  22. SteveInMN

    Reminiscent of 1930s Germany.
    The educated and tolerant thought it would go nowhere, then.
    Let that be a warning to us.

    October 14, 2013 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  23. BlackBelt

    God Bless the Veterans!

    October 14, 2013 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  24. Good Morning Stars

    Oh yeah.."I can see the Russian from my backyard" too!!!!

    October 14, 2013 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  25. Mike MacKinnon

    The racist lie calling the President Muslim, the vile, un-Christian blasphemy of questioning the faith he's demonstrated repeatedly, the corrupt exploitation of veterans while refusing to acknowledge that they not only caused the shutdown but are doing everything to lock in support from the loons who think it's a good thing, the criminal destruction of the barriers including yanking them away from police, the truly ugly facts of what the conservative movement and what you accomplish by voting Republican on display...while they gut programs for the needy, and poverty kills more Americans.

    October 14, 2013 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
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