A rally on Sunday in Washington, D.C., went from civil to mean-spirited as it made its way from the World War II Memorial to the White House.
Hundreds gathered from across the country to protest the closure of the memorial, one of the many national landmarks closed because of the partial government shutdown. Though it was titled the Million Vet March on the Memorials, organizers fell well short of that mark, and the march resembled a Tea Party gathering more than a civil rights rally. But the march attracted its fair share of big names, like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, according to CNN.
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.”
One of Palin’s duties, according to the Washington Times, was handing out “small American flags to bystanders.” The marchers removed barricades from the World War II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial and carried them to the front of the White House. Ralliers were varied, including “veterans, impeachment and truckers,” noted one of the demonstrators to the Washington Times, as were the messages they spewed.
CNN reported that one speaker told Obama to “put the Quran down” and “get up off his knees,” and Salon noted that another carried a large Confederate flag to the White House. There were also reports of ralliers attempting to block Monday-morning traffic on the Beltway.