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. Randy

    Anti American Tea Party morons created this mess. Bunch of damn rednecks with no jobs so they call the President a Muslim. These people need to be imprisoned at Guantanamo

    October 14, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. SC

    If anyone denies that opposition to Obama is based on racism and the puppetry of neo-conservative groups, they are lying to everyone, including perhaps themselves.

    October 14, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. Biff Omney

    There is definitely a lot of bigotry within the Tea Party, especially against Muslims.

    October 14, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. Scotian

    The republicans put down Obama for being born somewhere else but wasnt Cruz born in Calgary Alberta

    October 14, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. Mary

    It is ironic that one group will just march to have their interest (only) instead of asking for entire govt. body to be opened. Who will speak for those equally affected that can’t march for their own interests.
    You may think the Vets will fight for everyone – I forgot, this is not actually a representative of our great Vets; just tea party trying to make themselves heard after Ted Cruz’s action had put them in the bad side of the general public. Majority of the American’s do not like the got. Shut down and they want all branches to be opened – not select few.

    October 14, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. johnny

    it looks like the Million motorcycle protest, the Million Trucker protest and the Million Vet protest just total 100, not an impressive turnout when just angry White men show up, they cant even count to 100 moreless groven the USA,

    October 14, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. teaparty days are numbered

    the government needs to give money to the states to open up mental health facilities so the tea party members will have somewhere to go and meet.

    October 14, 2013 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. guest

    and why werent these congress people arrested during the protest? The last protest congress participated in, before this madness, led to congress members being arrested, and it appeared to be way more peaceful of a protest.

    October 14, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  9. gramma nance

    OMG...Sarah Palin and that wack job Klayman....a terrible combo. Just how many nuts are in the Tea Party anyway? Scary people...and most of them should take an IQ test before voting!

    October 14, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  10. Joe Smith

    Larry Klayman, take your stupid, racist and hateful BS back to Hell. Obviously that's where you and your TP cohorts were created...

    October 14, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. Oniyamata

    You Americans are the most hypocrite people ever.
    You claim secularism, democracy and man things but you guys in name of Freedom of Speech have achieved a new level of hate.
    The hate against a freely elected President is abhorrent in US. Constant demeaning of a leader, he is Black, he is ghetto, he is a Muslim blah blah blah.
    Americans are going backwards.

    October 14, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Meez

    None of this changes the fact that obama is a disgrace to America and the American people. He's a failed president who has divided America, increased America's debt by catastrophic amounts, lied to America, and has overseen America fall to it's lowest point in modern history both fiscally and politically. Other countries are openly mocking obama and his failed policies. It's just embarrassing. While I do not align with the tea party or the republicans either, at least they are taking a stand against our amateur in chief. The democrats keep poo poo'ing him and for that, they are losing my vote and respect.

    October 14, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. Jay

    Wow.. blaming Obama for Afghanistan war.. Who heck start this war? Don't get me wrong.. I'm no Dems.. I like
    Ron Paul.. These wars took billions of dollars from us cause all the problems. Now we are saying cut all the
    welfare programs. Don't feed the poor or real needy people.. Well I'm against that.. You want to cut then
    cut defense budget.. Get rid of highly paid contractors.. etc.. Yes some lazy people take advantage of
    system then find them but don't punish the real needy.. If we do that then that's sin and we are nation
    under God.. So fear god..

    October 14, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  14. me

    Looks like someone left the door to the loony bin unlocked... As is evidenced by Ted "Randle McMurphy" Cruz and Sarah "Nurse Ratched" Palin on location with all the brainless droolers following them around like the lemmings they are... no matter the thought that the intentions are good, they're still certifiable and a danger to this country!

    October 14, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  15. ed

    Can anyone see the elephant in the room here? This guys name really Klayman or Klansman as in KKK, I am one Vet who blames the Tea Party and there Facist ways Cruz the canadian has some nerve standing up for Vets did'nt canada protect draft dodgers in the Draft?. Congress holds the key the the cash not Obama.... This Tea party reminds me of the Nazi party using thearts and intimadation to get there way. This only the begining for these BoBo's

    October 14, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  16. fibsernum

    Republican Party's plan for America 2008-20016: Oppose Obama at all cost, never mind the country's needs.
    Republican Party's plan for America 2016-2020: Oppose Hillary at all cost, never mind the country's needs.
    Republican Party's plan for 2020-- What Republican Party???

    October 14, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  17. Mike

    How interesting it is for Obama to prove who he is through his and his administrations actions? I don't ever remember a President, including George Bush, who has pited Americans against Americans the way this President has. He is the great divider, the great mudslinger... He is HORRIBLE as a Leader!

    October 14, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. Laughable

    As a previous commenter stated CNN please stop printing their rantings and ravings. Honestly I think their rhetoric is instigating violence and bigotry in this country which is such a shame. And even if the President reads the Quran and was Muslim – so what! I've read parts of the Torah, Quran, Bible – it's called education.

    October 14, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  19. Joe in Florida

    I feel as though I've been transported to the 1950's. Are these people descendents of "Tail-gunner" Joe McCarthy? What an embarrassment these people are, to the veterans and to the USA as a whole!

    October 14, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  20. blerg

    how dare this guy taint a veterans ralley with something like that.

    October 14, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  21. DW

    Time to start 'treading' on these bigots.

    October 14, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. NoFFense

    Just when you thought they couldn't possibly get any dumber. These people's brain should be studied by the medical and psychiatric professionals for the sake of humanity lets find a cure!!!

    October 14, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  23. Anon

    I don't care who says what, on either side. The facts clearly point to this whole situation being avoidable. Im one of the voters who now thinks we should vote all of the senators and representatives out, and bring in a brand new congress. President needs to go, too. Not because he's black (he's half white anyway) Not because he's a muslim (I don't know, or care, what beliefs the man truly holds in his heart, his actions are what concerns me) and not because he's a democrat (I actually liked Bill Clinton quite nicely.) "The good ol' days" as so many republicans claim they want to go back to, weren't so grand for many, and the "Great progressive future" democrats seem to want to usher us in to isn't so great looking either. Politicians need to go back to serving the people, but at the same time, people need to go back to serving the people as well. Voters need to educate themselves on how their votes effect the whole, not just how it effects themselves.

    October 14, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. fibsernum

    Bob, you are confused; it is Fox News that claims to be "fair and balanced."
    Non-nut cases just aren't that interesting to the post-intelligent public.

    October 14, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  25. Oy

    "U people are very mislead and maybe u need to think about who the real monster is. I do not want my kids to think two men kissing is okay or that just because my 2 year old son is a white male he owes every other race an apology an apology. "

    You just revealed yourself with your comment. Perhaps not a monster, but yes, completely ignorant and bigoted.

    October 14, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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