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. Free_Thinker

    "Put down the Quran"...this is the definition of the oxymoron; coming from the Talibans of the American politics !!! I do not know if to feel sorry for them for being blinder that a bat or just plain tools in the hands of Cruz & Co is the right feeling... Question: who's more stupid, this retard with a microphone and a camera in his face, or the crowd that surrounds and cheers him ?

    October 14, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. kzzwzp

    Time for Harry Reid and Obama to go!

    October 14, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  3. flowersunshineandgymsocks

    Isn't this when a government should use tea gas?

    October 14, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. JohnRJohnson

    And this clown was surrounded by a cheering crowd of people.

    October 14, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  5. The REAL Truth...

    @Joe Blow – It scares me how many truly stupid people there are in this country.
    Yes, truly shameful as to how dumbed down the right wing electorate has become. That they can even get away with the complete lies being told, and allowed to vote and procreate is beyond me.

    October 14, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. txan

    Is it a coincidence that the group photo in the article is 99.9% white?

    October 14, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. Bill C

    These crazy hate ridden people with their threats are very scary. America is going downhill fast thanks to the likes of Palin, and Cruz and their Army of haters.

    October 14, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |

    Seriously, the T-Partistans have lost their collective ever-lovin' minds. PLEASE SECEDE!!! Just go away...

    October 14, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. alex

    A sad, sad bunch of haters. Why don't these people and Tea Party concentrate on improving the country instead of spreading lies and fear? Who is anyone to determine one's religion? Stop the rant of hate and ignorance and get to work. Open the government. No matter what this small fraction of the population says, the majority of Americans and the world population know the truth. They are hindering the progress all because of their narrow mindedness and desire for power. Get lost. Faster the better.

    October 14, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. Steven Colo

    Morons. When you're trying to establish a claim, you need to be clear about it. By claiming he's a Muslim, he's shifting the argument from Obama's actions to whether he himself is sane or not. The spectacle of a bunch of nutcases saying that Obama is a Socialist, a Muslim, not an American, etc. makes the focus on the crazies themselves.

    October 14, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  11. Name

    Absolute nonsense of anti Obama sentiment here. Where were they when G W Bush raised the debt ceiling 7 tomes? Oh wait, , he was white! Therefore a Christian Anerican!

    October 14, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  12. Jason Scott

    Johnny Kirk

    Do you idiots even understand what a veteran is? These are the guys who risked life and limb to preserve the rights you use to defecate on the graves of honorable men.

    Did someone defecate ?
    That's what the Tea Party is doing to this country.

    October 14, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  13. Commanding Voice

    I don't see any faces of color in that crowd. Hmmmm. Once again the Tea Party is showing its true colors.

    October 14, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  14. the Stugatz

    I am no Obama fan and certainly not on the left by any stretch but this kind of rhetoric is not helpful to anything and needs to stop. From both sides. The free flowing insults from side to side are counter productive.

    It's time we have thoughtful discussions on how to move this country forward and all of you more interested in blaming the other side can stay out of those conversations. We need grown ups with level heads in Washington.

    October 14, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  15. David Dee

    The Tea-liban strike again.

    October 14, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  16. Sharyn B

    How sad and pathetic that our great country harbors people who are so ignorant and ill bred to act like this with an excuse that it is about our Constitution and government. In all the years I have followed politics, I have never, ever seen people be so incredibly rude and disrespectful of the President of the United States. Barack Obama was duly elected by a majority of people in this country. Actions like what is going on now with the Tea Party and the likes of Cruz and Palin and others are a tell tale sign why a democracy such as ours is in fact likely doomed to fail. Although they are a small minority, they have shown a complete disregard for the institutions of a democratic society. If we don't let them have their way, they will do what they can to destroy just about anything, all in the name of "restoring" us. BS. These people are really dangerous and their ideology thankfully is and will remain soundly rejected by the majority of Americans.

    October 14, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  17. Ralph_in_FL

    Tea Party nut jobs act stupid. And in other surprising developments...

    October 14, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. Sean

    Ignorance is bliss.

    October 14, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. R;g

    So so many rude and stupid people out there makes you wonder what is happening to people's minds.......

    October 14, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  20. katrinanyc

    The GOP agree to shut down the government because our president wants Americans to have affordable healthcare, and that somehow makes him a Muslim who reads the Quran. And Cruz, who was born in a country where healthcare is provided for free, is somehow more American than the actually American-born president. You could not write a better script than this.

    October 14, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. ep110947

    What he is REALLY saying is .... Can we believe it? Many real americans voted for a BLACK MAN for president but I can't say that cuz I'll be labeled a RACIST. Oh, I get it. I'll call him a MUSLIN... ALL AMERICANS and allowed to HATE THED!!

    October 14, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  22. Grant

    The closing of the national parks, particularly the wilderness ones such as Yellowstone, is blatantly ridiculous. I'm sorry, but people were spending time in the outdoors long before the US Federal Government was telling them how.

    October 14, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. Pat

    The Teabagging Republicons are 100% responsible for this mess. And there aren't enough more moderate, reasonable Republicons with spines, to stand up for what is right. If there is such a thing as a reasonable Republicon, none of them seem to have a voice anymore.

    October 14, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  24. Tony Antin

    I sure that all those people who forced "opening" of the memorials, thus without supervision and safety procedures in place would, if somehow injured, immediately sue the Federal Government for "lax supervision." And all those non-vet politicians like Cruz and Palin make me sick. (I served as an army infantryman from 1943 thru 1945.)

    October 14, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. Jen in AK

    How dare they? How can tea partiers, their hands filthy with their own misdeeds, blame the shutdown on ANYONE but themselves? Disgusting!!! THEY, not the President, not the Democrats, not the moderate voices left in the GOP, are the cause of the nation's malfunctions and the source of all that's wrong in Washington. Hateful, spiteful, ignorant idiots. Fire them all!!!

    October 14, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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