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. Steve from NH

    So Ted Cruz, the guy most responsible for the Govt. shutdown – is protesting the Govt. shutdown? He must think we are beyond stupid, like his minions.

    October 14, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  2. Jenny Ruth Yasi

    FYI President Barack Obama is a devout Christian.

    October 14, 2013 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  3. Chris

    The staff in charge of maintaining our memorials and parks is furloughed. Closing those parks and memorials in order to guarantee they do not reach a disgraceful state seems reasonable. I know the parks and memorials all have friends groups and volunteer organizations helping with maintenance. However, their presence is a liability issue without paid staff present. Please, continue blaming Republicans and/or Democrats for our budgetary issues, but just learn to deal with the fact that as long as those issues continue the services provided by our government will not be up to par.

    October 14, 2013 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  4. David

    Hahahahahahahhahhaha !!!! Cruz leads the fight to shut down government and now blames Obama that parks are closed. Priceless !

    October 14, 2013 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  5. Pete

    So much for believing in the constitution and the first amendment.

    Xenophobia, racism, bigotry is what drives many of these people. Those who only care about changing policy are doing themselves a disservice by associating with the hate mongers.

    October 14, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  6. 2Smart4Tea

    It's hard to believe that even the Teabaggers believe this garbage. The fault lies with the conservatives – and this is just a cheap ploy to use veterans for conservative political gain. It's the conservatives who should be ashamed for exploiting veterans.

    October 14, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  7. Doug from Seattle

    As a veteren I am ashamed and appauled at the behavior exhibited by these right-wing nut cases. The misinformation designed to divide our country spewed by these people is both dangerous and treasonous! I only hope that our democratic process ultimately wins out and we can return to a time when our representatives behaved in civil, statesman like manner in search of pragmatic solutions to our problems that will improve the well-being of all Americans.

    October 14, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  8. notnice

    That isn't nice to say, shame on you sir. Besides that the Tea party is spot on and Obama is the enemy of the USA.

    October 14, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  9. db

    i just see a bunch of angry white people

    October 14, 2013 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Quick get all these Tea Partiers lined up by dat der tree, I'll fetch me rope!!!

    October 14, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  11. tom

    Well there you go. Once again these ignorant fringe neo-fascists show their true colors, perpetuating the same tired old lies/myths. And who is front and center? The woman from AK who proclaimed only 7 years ago that having a passport was "elitist." What an embarrassment to herself. And to think she was almost second in line to be the president. I'm sure all these whiners and complainers are burning their monthly social security checks or have signed a pledge to do so in the future. They are telling their kids not to accept minimum wage and to let their employers pay what the market will support instead. Not one of them is driving on the Interstate probably. They should stick to their principles and wave off the fire truck if their trailers were burning down. I mean that'll show those liberal dogs!

    October 14, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  12. John Mulroy

    The Republican led House refused to vote on a Budget proposal, which they themselves authored, and the Democrats reluctantly agreed to... How is it possible that Pres. Obama is responsible for the government shutdown? All Speaker Boehner needs to do is bring the Budget proposal up for a vote.

    October 14, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  13. AregisteredVoter

    Quick get all these Tea Party protesters over to dat thar tree, I'll get a rope!!

    October 14, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  14. Lin

    Good advice (unless you're reading it for tactical reasons).

    October 14, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  15. David

    Telling the President to put down the Quran destroys ALL your credibility.

    October 14, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  16. dotheflippin'math

    Wow, such hateful, unpatriotic people! I'm sure glad they didn't take over MY party. So, now it's democrats vs. the racist and anarchist party. Not that the GOP had much going for it, but this is truly a shame to see them overtaken by these scumbags in the tea party. What's next for the TP, wearing pointy white robes and stringing-up black people?

    October 14, 2013 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  17. pcappit

    going to a Black Power racist church because your wife does, does not make one a Christian. Anyone who believes Obama is a Christian, is a delusional fool, who could truly care less 2who the man they keep voting for really is. He was raised in a Sharia based Islamist run school in Indonesia, he supported the terrorist organization Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt over our long time secular friend Mubarak. But brain dead sheep who probably couldn't even tell you who Frank Marshall Davis is still defend his lies and the media cover up about who he really is.

    October 14, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  18. Ramon F Herrera

    For many years this country has been divided along a variety of lines such as taxes, abortion, war, etc. I can't help but notice that in recent years the division is increasingly becoming "Hatred vs. Tolerance".

    Guess which party is on which side????

    October 14, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  19. Mame

    Ladies and gentlemen, the republican party. *cue circus music*

    October 14, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  20. Joe

    Why weren't they arrested? Oh yeah, because they were veterans and it would look bad. And taking barakades out of the hands of officers trying to put them back is no longer civil disobedience.

    How about Mr. speaker of the house putting the senates bill up for a vote? That's where the logjam resides.

    October 14, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  21. callmecrazy

    This protest was nothing more than an anti-Obama rally and has nothing to do with the government shutdown. You don't hear them talk about other democrats or that Cruz and other TP members were the ones that orchestrated the shutdown. They continue to show their true colors in rallies like this and our opinion of them will continue to slide. Keep up the good work.

    October 14, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  22. The Real Tom Paine


    I was there today. There were no barricades "tossed". In most pictures that you will see, the barricades were neatly stacked. This is not an Occupy type crowd and we showed restraint and respect throughout. Get your facts straight!
    Respect, restraint and the Tea-Party are mutually exclusive comments. Your bunch resemble a Jacobin mob in Paris during the Terror in the French Revolution more than a peaceful, respectful crowd, much less the Founding Fahers you claim to revere.. And I doubt you were there any more than I was. I was present for the some of the Tea party Protests in 2009 and 2010, and nutjobs with semi-automatic weapons screaming obscenities and racial taunts does not constitute respectful unless you count David Duke amongst your secessionist friends.

    October 14, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  23. Fr33d0mhawk

    The Teaparty has some nerve telling Obama to put down the Quran when its the Teaparty who acts more like the Taliban than any other group on earth. The Teaparty Taliban are really calling Obama and infidel, and are chiding Obama for not following Christo-Taliban Sharia Law. Many of those vets carried Rebel Flags proving their disloyalty to the USA, proving they are traitors, not patriots. The Teaparty, just like the Nazis, cling to lies in order to foam at the mouth rabidly believing if they pretend hard enough that a lie is true, then it might as well be true. Hitler said something similar, "facts mean nothing, only will matters" and using that fascist mentality, Obama magically becomes a Kenyan born Muslim. I suggest that the idiot veteran seditiously insulting the POTUS turn himself in and demand to be hung by the neck until dead as punishment for being a traitor. That veteran does not deserve to walk that hallowed ground spewing seditious lies, inciting Einsatzgrupian anti-American rabble that has come to represent the "Teaparty" the Teaparty Taliban, no truth, honesty, integrity or patriotism allowed.

    October 14, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  24. NamePhil Doughtie

    It is embarrassing to see Americans degrade our country by acting as though they can impress our citizens by degrading our free country by acting like other third world countries,I.e., Syria , irac, Somalia, etc..
    Go home!!!! After you put the barriers back in place.

    October 14, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  25. Pamela

    The Republican Party is shooting itself in the foot the longer they pander to the Tea Party members. If the Tea Party has so much support, why don't they form their own party totally separate from the Republican Party?

    October 14, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
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