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. flowersunshineandgymsocks

    The title of the article should read, "KKK rally at war memorial".

    October 14, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. Big_D

    People think the Tea Party is a bunch of bigots that collect Social Security and Medicare then complain about high taxes while spewing hate. I think the people are correct.

    October 14, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. Zee Carolina

    "Obama put down the Quran". Seriously, dude? And the tea party wants us to believe they are not extremists and hate mongers? I was a Republican in the Reagan and Bush Senior era, but now I am glad to see them self destruct and become a smaller and smaller party if they are to continue to espouse such hate for the minorities. Carry on, we are watching with amusement from the sidelines.

    October 14, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. Mike Olenik

    Inbreeding is apparently still rampant in certain regions of this country. Lord have mercy on us all, these illiterate inbred hate mongers won't be happy until the entire country is dragged down into the hole they live in.

    October 14, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  5. RickN

    The ignorance shown by people at the demonstrations and those that post here, is astounding. First off, by law, illegal immigrants are ineligible for food stamps. U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants may be eligible for food stamps. To those of you spouting otherwise, you're WRONG. Where did you hear this from, other know-nothings?

    Additional FACT: Undocumented immigrants are not eligible to receive food stamps.

    The personal attacks on Obama aren't racist, huh? Put down the Koran? He's a Muslim? Oh yes, our country's people certainly are exceptional, exceptionally stupid.

    October 14, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. Anonymous

    Why isn't anyone talking about how wrong it is to force people to pay for medical ins.or face being fined? Our govt.gives away enough of our tax dollars to provide us with free medical care.how many families can not afford it? These are the questions that should be the topic of discussion on the national media.

    October 14, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. hollywoodclassified

    I don't care how much you hate the president, if you're going to call him out on something can you at least get your facts straight? CONGRESS approves changes in the budget. CONGRESS shut down the government. and not just the DEMOCRATS but the REPUBLICANS had an ENORMOUS hand in it. Especially since, after President Obama was re-elected the House republicans said they would oppose anything and everything the president approved. Why? Shouldn't we ask ourselves why they would do this? Forget the working class, forget medicare, forget the deficit. Congress keeps getting paid for our misfortune, shouldn't the rally be led against them? The President doesn't have a magic wand to wave over a bill and say 'abra cadabra'. Bush didn't have one, Clinton didn't have one, and Reagan certainly didn't have one. No President is perfect, everyones has their faults. I'm proud that we actually have a president who tells us up front why this is happening. He begged Congress right up until the 11th hour to not shut down the government, but nooooooo Congress decided to throw a fit because they don't like 'ObamaCare'. You know, When Mitt Romney put up the same Health Care plan for his state, everyone loved it and said someone should have that for the whole natioin. Mitt even named the act 'RomneyCare', he nicknamed it after himself. But suddenly, Obama wanted to do it, and he did. It has been made into LAW. Nope, that's not what Congress wanted, they don't want Obama to do anything helpful or that makes him look like the good President he is. Nope. Why would they? If he actually did get credit for everything that he's doing right, the Republicans would like the dying, anti-everything, capitalistic party that they are.

    October 14, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. PeterD

    Barack Obama’s refusal to negotiate with the Republicans in Congress on the government shutdown is proof once again that he doesn’t understand the first thing about presidential leadership.

    October 14, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. neastsider

    The biggest mouths not connected to any intelligence are the ones who are yelling and screaming that the shutdown and possible default is all Pres Obama's fault. They don't dare say that these bagger repugs are the one who led the charge in the bagger caucus to shutdown the government, plan for a economic collapsw of the country. And of couse all those in the audience bought it hook line and dungpile by the shovelfull. The audience was made up of baggers, losers, and more losers and yet more losers who only do what they are told to do and what to think.

    October 14, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  10. Big_D

    I always wish they would take pictures of these crowds and disclose how much federal assistance each one is on. Most of these folks are Medicare and SS recipients that are afraid they will get their benefits cuts because of some lie they bought from the Tea Party. Why they support a party bent on the destruction of SS and Medicare is beyond me.

    October 14, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. jy

    "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."
    This is birther mentality, but these same birthers say it is OK that Cruz was not born in the US and can be elected president.


    October 14, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  12. joeknows

    One big reality TV series except this is real life

    October 14, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  13. solkid

    The Tea party is the American version of Muslim brotherhood.

    October 14, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  14. curious

    Let me tell those "Hate Protesters"The Ptesident is not ust the President of the U.S.A. He is a brother ,a son & family to millions of us.Dont start what you can not finish.The President is not going anywhere.We put him in the White House & that's where he stays.

    October 14, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  15. Mark

    Too funny. Anyone who thinks this shutdown is Obama's fault is delusional. Wait till the next election and watch how many of YOUR so called leaders go bye bye. Also, the use of Veterans to push a political agenda is disgusting. Republicans lining up Veterans to break through barricades that were put in place by Republicans.

    October 14, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  16. Captain Nemo

    Dude seriously this is getting old and tired. OBAMA IS NOT A MUSLIM!! PERIOD!! Tea Party needs to come up with something new about Obama.

    October 14, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  17. Alverant

    Mario, do you have any proof the President is muslim?

    Didn't think so.

    October 14, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  18. zmd123

    I could care less about memorials being closed down while this shutdown is happening. We have far bigger problems and closures than to care about a memorial being closed. Once the POS GOPs let the government reopen, the memorials will be reopened. This is racism at its finest.

    October 14, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. Kirsten

    This is just pathetic. The ignorance is astounding. And we wonder why as a nation we are failing. Look no further. We can't get past the fact that he is not a Muslim, and we have elected officials at this 'rally.' If I were from their state, I assure you, I would be doing everything I could to get them out of office.

    October 14, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  20. Cal Bob

    Who and how much did they PAY Palin to be there ?
    She does not do apperances for free . And why wasn't Cruz at work with all the other senators trying to get this fixed ? Talk about a freeloader, but Texas is proud of this Canadian .

    October 14, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  21. Thomas

    What gets me about this whole thing is you have hypocritical politicians trying to face for the camera blaming others for this shutdown but they are to root cause of the problem. We have a Congress who is so politically divided they cannot agree on a simple bill but when something goes wrong, they are the first to step up in front of the camera and blame others for their incompetence. Hey Ted Cruze, you want to do something about the government shutdown, try dragging your butt into the Senate chamber and start working together with the other drones in Congress to solve this mess instead of blaming the President. You all got us into this situation. The fact you call yourself a Texan makes me sick.

    October 14, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. gateway

    Wow, what a hateful crowd! Truly scary.

    October 14, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  23. Ray

    Worst President ever? Methinks Rob would have trouble naming more than a couple of Presidents.


    Obama is a disgusting example of a human being. Anti-American and anti-military. The worst president ever....and I hope he is removed from office. NOW!

    October 14, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. z2cents

    When did America turn so stupid.

    October 14, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. John

    Let me get this straight....Obama got Bin Laden along with almost all of the Al Queda leadership, after Bush captured/killed almost zero important terrorist leaders and you are asking Obama to put the Quran down.....sure you have the right guy?

    October 14, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
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