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. FrmrMrine

    What did these people think it meant to shut down the federal government? Did they think it would only hurt "welfare queens" in Harlem?

    Sure, Just like everyone else, they want the things they like provided for by the feds and the things that others need denied. Hypocrites.

    October 13, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. Laura

    Sounds like the mideast is missing some of its hatemongers.

    October 13, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. wendel

    This is exactly what's wrong with the republican party, it is being run by a bunch of nut jobs who have no clue what goes on in the real world. All they want is to get in front of the camera and make money. Anyone who is still listening to that dumb broad Palin is beyond help. This is what keeps the limbaughs of the world in business. Wake up America. The American people are going down the toilet and these trolls are just getting richer while they screw us.

    October 13, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. Dan

    This is news service reporting? Reluctantly they finally post it after finding their angle. Shameful.

    October 13, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. phil_177

    "... to wage a second American nonviolent revolution." OK, I'm dumb, when did the first 'nonviolent revolution' start ... ???

    October 13, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. visitor2905

    What do you know....another ignorant Republican comment! What is wrong with these people? Unfortunately, things will never change until they realize that THEY are the demise of America. That would begin with them breaking their generations of platforms based on hate and ignorance of anything that is different. For the record, this is my first time ever posting on here, but you finally say 'enough is enough'

    October 13, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. NamePhyllis Bunting

    Unamericans like him are what us destroying and dividing our nation. That and pure ignorance. Obama is NOT s Muslim and we would know and so what if he was he still has every right to be the president as anyone . He professes Jesus Christ as Savior drinks alcohol and eats pork so no he is not a Muslim. This tea party group is doing nothing but spreading lies intolerance and hate!

    October 13, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. Missourian

    The Tea Party has sunk to new lows. This is the most ignorant comment I have heard yet. Its out and out racism.If anyone needed proof, here it is.
    Palin/Cruz can go jump off a bridge together.

    October 13, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. Mendicant Bias Two

    When will these tea party nuts go away? ffs

    October 13, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Git er dumb!

    October 13, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  11. AngieS

    Somebody please tell me why these nut jobs weren't arrested for trespassing, vandalism, destruction of public property, attempting to intimidate police officers or at least conducting a rally without a permit?? THIS is what Teapublicans are really all about: I want what I want when I want it but I don't want to have to pay for it. It costs money to build, maintain and preserve our national parks and memorials and our tax dollars serve that purpose. If they don't want to pay the taxes they don't get to visit. Period. Arrest them all – especially that loud-mouthed moron Sarah Palin!!

    October 13, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. FcukTheGOP

    That's ironic coming from a group that is openly supporting the GOP holding a gun to the heads of all Americans right now with the shutdown. Two words for tea party members. Go rot.

    October 13, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Pyarali Khoja

    President Obama is not a Muslim. Even if he is a Muslim, he has right to be a president and worship to Allah and his holy book quran.

    October 13, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  14. t3chn0ph0b3

    More anarchist terrorists trying to point the finger at other people to blame for their own dirty work and hate. The Tea Party should be ashamed, but these anarchist terrorists know no shame.

    October 13, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. J Man

    Sigh.. why don't these morons realize they are protesting themselves? And why don't they realize that they represent the most backwards, racist, uneducated, most self-entitled group of Americans in the history of the country?

    October 13, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. Patxpeace

    It would be a good idea that Mr. President Obama to behave like a civilized person and understand that the Americans do not want his imposition of the Obama care, probably he is trying to shown that he is the Commander in chief of this country! Let me tell him that this uniform is way to large for him! He must understand that he will pass to history as a common neighborhood bully. Open the government Mr. Obama and show that you have some respect with the Veterans and all the Citizens of the Great Country!

    October 13, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. JimS

    Yokels are good for late-night comedy but they cannot be given charge of House canteen let alone any major substantive issue. All these folks who are running with retail temper raising need to be kicked out of the House. Pity is that they are following a man down the cliff who can never be the POTUS because he was born in Canada.

    October 13, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. Soldier

    I find it amusing how the Tea Party sees President Obama as some heretic to be expunged from Washington D.C. while ignoring the fact he was elected by the people of the United States, twice. The Tea Party can vote at the next election too. Their dissociation from the rest of America only goes to show their ignorance. The Tea Party no longer considers the law as an obstacle to their beliefs. They only want their own way and would be happy if America would just step aside and give it to them. Well, it comes down to trust. They don't have a plan to make things better, only to make sure they are in charge.

    For that reason alone they can never be trusted. Ever. The same could be applied to all politicians, but it is the Tea Party which would declare a civil war. Are they really prepared for that? Do they understand the consequences of just what a civil war would do to this country? Any civil war, regardless of the political lines, will eventually devolve into a class war.

    Sure you want to keep following this road, Mr. Cruz? Ms. Palin?

    October 13, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  19. NotHappyWithPoliticians

    Until they stop supporting the hostage taking of Americans and their careers and lives via the shutdown these people can whine and moan until they are blue in the face. They deserve to be summarily ignored and written off as the worthless trash that they are.

    October 13, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  20. bellarue

    Hateful, racist posturing by demagogues like Cruz and Palin and their delusional, pitchfork carrying followers will only succeed in further alienating the independent voters, ensuring Democratic control of the White House and Senate for a long time to come.

    October 13, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  21. The Contentious Otter

    As the Tea Party becomes a smaller and more concentrated group their white nationalist tendencies will become more obvious. The kinds of claims cited in this story are a perfect example.

    The Tea Party was originally started as a way for corporate sponsors at the American Legislative Exchange Council to push for the legislative hamstringing of the EPA. Once the white nationalist groups declared the Tea Party a "fertile recruiting ground" the movement quickly turned into the modern day political arm of white nationalism in America.

    Tea Party members can point at Ben Carson and shout "Robert Byrd" all they like. Just because you bought yourself a new set of sheets doesn't mean you're a different person.

    October 13, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  22. alleygator

    The same constitution that guarantees every American the right to free speech also guarantees every American the right to be a fool. Here are some who are exercising those rights.

    October 13, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    "While they gathered peacefully for the most part, some .. shouted to police on horseback .." Oh! the horror, the horror.. Those mean, violent, extremist tea people. Why can't they protest peacefully like Occupy people and just defecate on police cars?

    October 13, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  24. Nieue

    I am curious to know why they did not arrest these clowns? The fact that they removed the barricades-shows their disrespect for authority. If any other group of people did this-they would have arrested them.

    October 13, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  25. A M

    Way to go....it's TIME WE TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK!!! I applaud all those that attended. 🙂

    October 13, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
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