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. nouse

    The new GOP platform "Shut off your brain entirely and get angry when i say go"

    October 14, 2013 05:09 am at 5:09 am |
  2. Jason

    Please stop using Veterans in political fight. If Republicans really care about Veterans, they would have thought twice about invading Iraq with WMD hoax. They always say they care about Veterans, but they didn't mind send us in the harms way. These Tea Party members are despicable because they are using Veterans to pressure President Obama. I don't agree with what President Obama is doing; however, he is the President of the United States, and he is my Commander in Chief, and he deserves the respect as I have respected President Bush when he was my Commander in Chief. It does not help to open the government if you promote this hate and further divide America. This is shameful accusation and further demonstrate how crazy Tea Party is by falsely accusing the President of the United States as Muslim.

    October 14, 2013 05:11 am at 5:11 am |
  3. Richard Long

    Rather then have an article about how veterans are forcefully removed from memorials they fought and bled for while illegal immigrants are allowed to rally on "closed" National Mall grounds, CNN uses it as an attack piece just as the Obama Regime attacks US Service men/women and veterans.

    Obama Regime: illegal immigrants that broke the law are more important than US citizens who would give their lives for the country.

    October 14, 2013 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  4. Mathprof

    I guess none of these "Tea Party" (isn't that what 5-8 year old girls have?) types never took a course in logic. You can't be for smaller government, then complain when government gets smaller. If you want government so small you could "drown it in a bathtub", you shouldn't complain when you get your way. It's called the law of unintended consequences, AKA you got what you asked for, but didn't like that either.

    October 14, 2013 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  5. Anonymous

    ...goes to show how racist and shallow minded you tea party (ers) are. You guys put the shame in America values. I suppose Obama is to blame for all your faults too.

    October 14, 2013 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  6. Bill White

    It's going to take a powerful white republican to put a stop to this stupidity.. I'm serious if more people do not start to see that this is basically old white guys fearful because they have a African American President then we are beyond blind.

    October 14, 2013 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  7. kellyF

    This is about as RACIST as it gets. If Obama wants to read the bible, Quran, or any other religious book, that is HIS business. We are a country of religious FREEDOM. This person spouting this off is just sick in the head.

    October 14, 2013 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  8. Chad

    Wow. Just WOW. There is not a scrap of doubt in my mind that this open, naked hatred and vitriol towards our president is motivated by racism. There are certainly non-racist people who disagree with some of his policies or decisions - and that's fine. No president has pleased everyone. But what I'm talking about is the sheer hatred of Obama you see on display from certain factions of today's GOP. Sorry folks: that's just racism masquerading as patriotism, and it ain't foolin' too many people outside of the Republican bubble.

    October 14, 2013 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  9. Name

    This is why the republican party is failing miserably. Sick drama!

    October 14, 2013 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  10. v

    I'm sorry, but how sad is it that there are THOUSANDS of people not receiving a paycheck to feed their families during all of this and these people are protesting a tourist attraction. Seriously?!? Get your priorities in line.

    October 14, 2013 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  11. pat

    politics smalitics its not a democrat or republican thing.. if a politician any politician is in office more then 8 years there in office for the power and themselves not a DAMN one gives a rats butt about the people or the country. fire them all lets sart with a clean slate and make term limits for all politicians

    October 14, 2013 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  12. BigMunny

    Don't blame Sarah Palin. She has come a long way from seeing Russia from her house. She is making more money than she ever dreamed possible and laughing all the way to the bank.

    October 14, 2013 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  13. Carl

    Not sure I understand. "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." Last I checked, the First Amendment applied to all U.S. citizens, not just the veterans with the Honor Flight program. Of course, it's possible that those rights are currently not available, due to the shutdown...

    October 14, 2013 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  14. Name

    The POTUS doesn't command when federal facilities are closed in this shutdown situation, each federal agency has shutdown procedures. You are a fool to believe that he had any say. Just look at when the POTUS orders a federal holiday, no federal agency goes in to the shutdown procedures, they just close for the day just as any bank or school would. This kind of "outrage" is ridiculous. If federal agencies didn't follow their procedures which by the way are published in the federal register that every member of the public has access to and right to comment on, so if you don't involve yourself in that process then shame on you lazy rear end! Don't blame any POTUS for the actions of federal agencies, a POTUS doesn't have have absolute power DUH! Recall the 3 levels of government and quit freaking deluding yourself that one person is the cause of this. PS not a fan of the current sitting POTUS, but am so tired of people placing blame when they are so clearly not informed and stoop to this level. Reminds me of the child who keeps crying just to see if your still paying attention to them.

    October 14, 2013 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  15. shawn in san diego

    It's ok, all this hateful rhetoric is because the struggle is coming to an end. The GOP is drowning and it's taking its last breaths till everything collapses and withers away. The whole country hates them, because they have not evolved the way this country's demographics has. Several months ago, for the first time in history, more "minority" babies were born than white babies. The GOP is full of racist white people, and they can't handle the fact that they're all about to die and the country's about to move on without them into a MUCH BRIGHTER future. So take your last breaths, GOP. it's no coincidence your poll numbers are at historic lows. I will enjoy watching you all die and be replaced by a more intelligent, and progressive generation 🙂 try to not be too noisy though. Bye bye

    October 14, 2013 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  16. ElreyJones

    The Obama Bin Biden regime are a embarrassment to this nation. Keep opposing their insane policies. End welfare, end immigration of Muslims and other enemies and put the Federal Reserve banksters on trial for crimes against humanity.

    October 14, 2013 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  17. Kenny

    What difference does it make if he's not Christian? These Tea Party nuts are really out there. Larry Klayman you sir are a moron!

    October 14, 2013 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  18. Sane Person

    This is why we can't have nice things.

    October 14, 2013 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  19. B steven

    Would it be an option to leave the most accessible monuments unmanned vs barricaded?

    October 14, 2013 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  20. voodoo idol

    So, the people who shut down the government are upset that the government is shut down?

    I don't get it.

    October 14, 2013 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  21. Peter Bishop

    It figures that CNN, in order to fire up their base demographic, would concentrate on this one aspect of the rally. How about the fact that the White House made this a political football when they decided to block access to open air memorials? What a bunch of Obamabots. Not to mention the fact that it took three writers to put this little biased story together. "Progressives" are good little government lackeys as much as Cruz and Palin are to the Tea Party.

    October 14, 2013 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  22. Barry

    These Tea Party people that say they are Christians and Constitutionalists are farcical at best. President Obama can be a Christian, becuase all those that profess to being the title of Christian are those that accept Jesus Christ as their savior. If you attend a Church, even if it is just during the holidays, you will notice what one perceives to be Christian can very greatly. The constitution says freedom of worship, therefore if one is Pradestant, Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, or Etc. and American by birth, which has been proven before President Obama entered office, and during his term in office for these morons. Sadly this movement of highly racist, fear mongering, Christian deviants, that believe only white=American, that this country works from the stance of the survival of only the fit; poor people don't really matter, guns for everyone for that will quel the nearly 40000 murders a year by gun violence in this country. They seem like they have overindulged in Old Western Movies. Since Barrack Obama has been in office, Milita Movements have risen from near150 to over 1400 plus, he had a Secret Service detail, on his family, way ahead of any Presidential candidate, because of conspiracy movements terrified of black people. It wouldn't matter if his name were Matthew, Andrew or Geoff...WHATEVER...he was black enough and they didn't want a black man representing/governing our nation! The Tea Party movement has infected Mainstream Media (secular and religious), White Churches, and Every level of our political foundation, propagating their hateful talking points, and distorting the Constitution. They just need to be true to themselves, stop just being the rowdy students at the back of the classroom, and say what they really are about.

    October 14, 2013 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  23. Marie MD

    And the stupid gather to lie about our President yet again led by ted bin laden (to quote Katheleen Parker!) and the woman wholly responsible for tanking the McCain campaign in 2008, the screecher from AK. Was that Mike Lee I saw in the background?
    Yes, old man from AZ, what goes around comes around and your party is the perfect example. Now that the lunatics are running it you will see how much it hurts.
    Maybe we need to target the Canadian terrorist more as a Cuban and less as a Canadian. That should turn some of those haters away from him!

    October 14, 2013 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  24. Jon

    How quickly people forget the news. Individuals are arguing that the National parks/monuments should never be closed and that this federal shutdown shouldn't effect them. A couple months ago, after hours, a tourist vandalized the Lincoln Memorial. The National Monuments normally has paid federal security to monitor such behavior (granted they're security was lacking on this particular day) but it proves, even as sacred as these sites are to many of us, they are not immune from harm. Without the protection and availibility of security, due to the federal furloughs, these sites no longer have around the clock protection, hence the barricades for their preservation. One can't expect the D.C. police to dedicate police officers to these sites. The federal government is neither Republican nor Democrat. When the funding is not there, it's not there. Not everything has a political agenda.

    October 14, 2013 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  25. Sidney

    Are these people really that ignorant? Where do they come from?

    October 14, 2013 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
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