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. msly

    This whole thing is laughable!! "Put the Quran down....." Ignorance is truly bliss for some people!!!

    October 14, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |

    The tea party is the lowest of the low. They have dragged this country to it's knees with the racism and hate-mongering. Klayman and Cruz are reprehensible.

    October 14, 2013 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  3. AS

    You take any credibility you have complaining about the president when you repeat rhetoric like "Obama's a Muslim." Please grow up and realize the man goes to a Christian church. You were glad to call him a Christian when the preacher at the church he attended starting saying "Anti-American" sentiments, what happened to that? Is he now back to Islam since no one can drag him through the mud by association anymore?

    When the sheep in the tea party stop going against their own best interests and stop repeating the rhetoric they've read on Fox News or the Drudge report, a real debate can begin. All of you making mindless comments about what an awful president Obama is need to pull your heads out of the Koch brothers' butts and open your eyes! They are trying to make you hate someone who wants to help you, who wants to help everyone that isn't the richest 1 percent! Stop letting the media divide us. You're doing their dirty work and you're too inspired by your own prejudices to notice. It's nothing but sad.

    Let's get the incumbents out of Congress this next midterm and do what we can to prevent this shutdown happening again!

    October 14, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. JERRY

    i also am a veteran and don't support what is going on right now. the thing that discusses me is that people say the President worships Allah. in my opinion who cares who or what he worships after all it is written in the constitution that we have the right to worship what ever we want. im not a muslim im a christian so people stop hating other people that have other gods.

    October 14, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. Gwen

    This guy is really disgusting. And to think that I served in the military to make it safe for people like him.

    October 14, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  6. jaywingfuller

    So, Ted Cruz doesn't know why the barriers are up when he and his lame-brain TGOP buddies were the ones who put them there? Really, this man is that stupid? And what is Palin doing out of the asylum?

    October 14, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. marowland

    Sounds like this guy needs to go ahead an pick up the Bible. Doesn't sound like a Christian to me! Not to mention reading a book doesn't make one a practicer of any particular religion. Just because someone reads the Bible doesn't make them Christian. Not even just believing in the Bible. Being a Christian is about what you do. Loving each other, being good news to EVERYONE, and helping those who are less fortunate. Having these good behaviors makes you a Christian.

    October 14, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. Dion

    "Larry Klayman", huh. More like "Larry Klanman".

    October 14, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. Cruzcantbeprez

    Cruz, the cuban missile crisis, is a communist and can't be trusted. His father worked with Castro and Ted can't be President because he is not a natural born citizen and he didn't have two American parents, those are the only two ways to be eligible for President, period!

    October 14, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  10. glauber

    The "Quran" comment that guy made had nothing to do with the president, and everything with rallying the scowling people behind him, whose unfocused, unlettered rage is easily manipulated. Sarah Palin's been doing it for several years now, and she's no genius, so why shouldn't this guy go to the well too?

    October 14, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  11. marowland

    Reading the Quran does not make him a Muslim, even if he had a copy. Reading the Bible doesn't make you a Christian, either. Believing in the Bible doesn't make you a Christian. Your actions and attitude make you a Christian. Christians love everyone, are good news to everyone, and help the less fortunate. The hate for the people in government will lead to sin and folly. Our leaders, both sides of the aisle, are obviously screwing up, but rather than yell and shout and insult each other, what needs to happen is we need to step away from our extremist thinking and try to understand what the other side wants, what is important to them so that we all win. Once we love and understand each other, then we can help each other get what we want in our government. Just because one person wins doesn't mean another has to lose.

    October 14, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  12. ro

    what's funny is how he invoked the memory of Dr. King and Ghandi who were both avid anti-capitalists...what's even funnier is how the crowd looks like the same cast members from that Dave Chappel "Clayton Bigsby" skit...meanwhile Ted Cruz, Palin, and the rest make MAD money off these rallys for making "special guest" appearances and laugh all the way to the bank as they profit off these poor people's ignorance...but hey what do you expect from people that "Cling to their guns and their religion (though they don't have any REAL understanding or knowledge of the bible and what it means to follow Jesus)"...

    October 14, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. Mike Johnson

    I joined the US Army and I served during Vietnam. I hate seeing a bunch of ill mannered, slovenly dressed people, who frankly, look like bums claiming to represent me. I have pride, dignity and honor. There is nothing more degrading then to have something as ignorant and self serving as these losers using vets. Did freedom works get these "vets" off the streets in the intercity?

    October 14, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  14. Civilized

    It's people like this crazy guy, morons that watch 24/7 news, and all the other "American's" that act like politics is the end all be all of this nation. Maybe if you all stopped being crazy lunatics lawmakers could actually do something in this country. Instead we have left wingers calling republicans christian gun nuts, and right wingers calling democrats Muslims (like that matters), and terrorist sympathizers. Honestly you all have better things to do than to fill your minds with the constant BS that you just love to listen to and get fired up about. STOP. It's not politicians ruining this country, it's morons from the left and right that can't get enough of this my way or the highway crap that have high jacked politics and turned it into some type of game. Neither of you have a clue about what's best for the country, so stop, please. Just stop and start acting like civilized again. This is out of control.

    October 14, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  15. Gary D.

    Such a comment just proves that idiots continue to exist in our society.

    October 14, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  16. Ed F.

    Another teabagging clown.

    October 14, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  17. Juhduh

    What an obvisouly staged event. If it was a true protest, why were all the partcipants so focused on recording their activities with cell phones?

    The protesters are so outraged that memorials are closed while federal employees and subcontrator employees are having their pay cut and now face no pay in the coming weeks, but it is much more important that "memorials" be open.

    This protest is just a way for the wacko Tea Baggers to express their extreme views. For the person who said Obama is the the President of "the" people. Obama received more votes than Romney and Mcain and "the " people certainly don't agree with your wacko views.

    Get use to it! Obama is the President until January 2017. Even if the House was crazy enough to impeach him, the Senate would not vote to convict and a "petition" won't work.

    October 14, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  18. Ed F.

    Thomas Jefferson owned a Koran...so does George Bush.

    October 14, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  19. humanone

    This demonstration and others like it compliments of the Koch Brothers.

    October 14, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  20. Yankee Doodle

    Why on earth did everyone think electing a Muslim president was a good idea?

    October 14, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  21. Jose M. Guzman

    REPUBLICANS (TEA PARY) ARE DESTROYING AMERICA, creating animosity, they are the American Taliban.........we must get rid of them, Terrorists.

    October 14, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  22. 5thApe

    The lunacy of the right. The Koran????? How does this person function in a modern society?

    October 14, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  23. Jack 2

    Hopefully one day soo we will have a effctive president. Obama hasn't the repect, knowhow or policies to do this country right. This presidency has been a disaster. This country won't make three more years of this

    October 14, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  24. Alice Green

    Crazy Crazy Crazy People

    October 14, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  25. Jose M. Guzman

    REPUBLICANS (TEA PARY) ARE DESTROYING AMERICA, creating animosity, they are the American Taliban.........we must get rid of them, Terrorists.

    October 14, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
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