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Crowd pushes through barriers to WWII Memorial in Washington

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:28 a.m. HST, Oct 14, 2013

WASHINGTON >> A crowd converged on the World War II Memorial on the National Mall Sunday, pushing past barriers to protest the memorial's closing under the government shutdown.

Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, along with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, were part of the demonstrators.

Cruz and Lee are among the tea party-backed lawmakers who refused to keep the government operating unless President Barack Obama agreed to defund the nation's health care overhaul.

"Let me ask a simple question," Cruz told the crowd of hundreds that gathered beginning at 9 a.m. "Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?"

Black metal barricades have lined the front of the memorial since the government closed Oct. 1. That's when more than 300 National Park Service workers who staff and maintain the National Mall were furloughed.

As the crowd entered the memorial plaza, they chanted "Tear down these walls" and "You work for us." They sang "God bless America" and other songs.

"Our vets have proven that they have not been timid, so we will not be timid in calling out any who would use our military, our vets, as pawns in a political game," Palin told the crowd.

The memorial has become a political symbol in the bitter fight between Democrats and Republicans over who is to blame for the shutdown. Earlier rallies have focused on allowing access for World War II veterans visiting from across the country.

Sunday's rally was more political. A protest by truckers converged with a rally by a group called the Million Vet March at the memorial. Participants cut the plastic links between metal barriers at the National Park Service site and pushed them aside.

Later, some protesters carried metal barricades that look like bicycle racks from the memorial to the White House and stacked them up outside the gates, confronting police in riot gear. Some protesters carried signs reading "Impeach Obama."

Police moved the protesters back to set up barricades between the crowd and the White House gate. Some protesters chanted "shame on you" at the officers.

An armored police vehicle also was sent to the World War II Memorial people lingered there.

District of Columbia police said the crowd was dispersing by 1 p.m., about four hours after the protests began. U.S. Park Police said there had been one arrest at the Lincoln Memorial for assault, but it was not related to the protest, said Lt. Pamela Smith.

Jim Weller of Allentown, Pa., said he came to protest "to stand up for my rights."

"My father was a World War II veteran, shot down in the Philippines in 1945, and for them to shut down this memorial is absurd," he said.

Cindy Good had a message for lawmakers.

"They need to listen to the American people," she said, "and try to work together in Congress to get this whole thing worked out."

After the protest, U.S. Park Police worked to secure the World War II Memorial again, and Smith said they were still closed because of the shutdown.

The Park Police officers, who have been guarding the memorials amid protests over their closure, are not being paid during the government shutdown.

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frings wrote:
These individuals have commited felonies in violation of federal law. Cruz, Lee and that waste of skin Palin need to be arrested and charged with criminal trespass, inciting to riot and treason.
on October 13,2013 | 11:36AM
environmental_lady wrote:
I totally agree with you. I'd like to add that those protesting Republicans are hypocrites. They created the shutdown but don't want the consequences of their creation. It's like they want to have the cake and eat it.
on October 13,2013 | 11:43AM
localguy wrote:
Really? So would you also arrest all the WWII veterans who did the same to visit the memorial? Fair is fair. Law applies to everyone right? Notice how the NPS has failed to explain why open air memorials suddenly were closed down? Normally you visit them 24 hours a day, open at night, not a ranger is sight. I smell dysfunctional congressional and senate bureaucrats at work here.
on October 13,2013 | 11:58AM
Ronin006 wrote:
Frings, the criminals are those in the Obama administration who ordered the totally unnecessary barricading of the World War II and other memorials and historic sites that do not cost the government one penny to operate. It clearly was done to make the government shutdown as miserable and painful as possible for Americans in the mistaken believe Americans would rise up in arms against Republicans, who Obama blames for the shutdown, and force Republicans to pass the funding bill with no strings attached. The barricading was an abuse of power and, in my opinion, criminal. Americans everywhere should rise up and tear down the barricades.
on October 13,2013 | 12:40PM
cojef wrote:
The memorial was funded by public donations of $193 Million and belong to the veterans. The Government do not have the right to close it. If the guards are on furlough so what? The veterans will get rowdy because they were denied access by guards. Who needs guards. The veterans certainly would not desecrate their own memorial? Guards were ordered to erected the barricades to make a political statement which indicate the mean spirited agenda of this administration. Yes, I am a WW II veteran with hitches in the Army, and I am mad.
on October 13,2013 | 01:48PM
RichardCory wrote:
Okay, you first.
on October 14,2013 | 05:22AM
Maipono wrote:
I feel your frustration frings, unfortunately the heat is in the wrong direction, Cruz, Lee and Palin feel just as passionate as you at the shameful closing of the memorials by President Obama. He is trying to make this shutdown as painful as possible,and to miss direct the blame to the Tea Party Patriots. When you dig deep, you realize that the president didn't have to do this, in fact President Clinton didn't do this when there was a government shutdown when he was president. Obama wants you to feel the heat, and make you blame the Republicans, it won't work, in fact it is back firing on him.
on October 14,2013 | 04:40PM
honokai wrote:
The third paragraph from the Associated Press story is just not correct. -----> "Cruz and Lee are among the tea party-backed lawmakers who refused to keep the government operating unless President Barack Obama agreed to defund the nation's health care overhaul." ----- The real sadness in all of this is that our country is full of people that don't even try to be honest in their discourse. Accuracy is not important to them. It is all about parroting a narrative that fits their ideology. Now there is no way that Cruz could be the one that refused to keep the government operating. He is a United States Senator. He is in the minority party in the Senate. While he can give a speech in the Senate, he has no power over the Senate.
on October 13,2013 | 11:42AM
busterb wrote:
Hopefully in a few years he will have no power anywhere and wearing a paper hat to work.
on October 13,2013 | 11:54AM
honokai wrote:
For a while it seemed as if the tea party might be going away. But the demonization of these people only makes them stronger, It is very sad that the country is reduced to constantly creating dishonest narrative. You cannot narrate people away if they don't even listen to your narration any more, They have there own media now. The public has a serious distrust in all the institutions. Much credibility has been lost.
on October 13,2013 | 12:09PM
false wrote:
Cruz, Lee, Palin are two face republicans. Does it take one man to close shut down the federal government? They should have stacked the barricades at the capitol steps instead of at the front of the White House. These Politicians are the very ones that shutdown the government and present themselves at the WWII memorial, playing politics as if they're not involved in this shutdown. What a bunch of asinine hypocrites. Those who believe these arrogant republicans are just as ignorant and gullible as a child without knowledgeable information as to what is going on within congress and the administration. Cruz is a yakking clown and has tunnel vision. Everything must be his way or the highway. We don't need ignorant elected officials like Cruz in congress.
on October 13,2013 | 05:16PM
ad1 wrote:
I could be wrong but if you ask a WW II veteran what is more painful to see, the WW II memorial closed due to the shutdown or that they sacrificed so much only to see what this country has become. There was a time not long ago when people didn’t have much and they appreciated what they had. They worked together to get things done because they understood that without each other they would all perish. Now people have so much and all they think and care about is getting more. Everyone is only looking out for their own interest. Like the frog in the water that is getting hotter and hotter, we will all be cooked one day if we don’t change from an independent society (all about me) to an interdependent society (all about us).
on October 13,2013 | 11:53AM
primowarrior wrote:
"Let me ask a simple question," Cruz told the crowd of hundreds that gathered beginning at 9 a.m. "Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?" As much as I hate to admit it, this is a question I would also like to have answered. Is it really necessary to barricade an open air memorial that is normally left unguarded, and has so much meaning to those who served their country? Not to mention that it also provides ammunition to politicians who would use it to promote their agenda.
on October 13,2013 | 12:20PM
honokai wrote:
It is hard for us to really know what is going on from being out here in Hawaii. My guess is that comes down to there just deep hatred between different factions of people. The hatred extends down through the different organizations and affects judgment and decision-making. I don't believe that most of the country is as hateful as the people that occupy Washington.
on October 13,2013 | 12:40PM
Ronin006 wrote:
Shame on Obama for allowing the NPS to barricade and close off memorials and historic sites that do not cost the government one penny to operate, like the World War II Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial, which are in huge open unfenced areas, which have no gates or doors to enter and which have no NPS employees standing there operating them. The barricading was done deliberately by the Obama administration, obviously with Obama’s tacit approval, to make the government shutdown as miserable and painful as possible like Obama did when sequester started. Shameful and disgraceful.
on October 13,2013 | 12:26PM
IAmSane wrote:
Those places probably have federal worker janitors who stop by to do clean ups. Litter is inevitable when you're in a place where many people congregate to. Since the janitors are at home, not working, they close the memorials so people don't go in there, and create litter. The end.
on October 13,2013 | 07:29PM
Bothrops wrote:
Once the monument gets graffiti all over it, then what? It's not the vets who are a problem, it's the thugs who sneak in at night. All that beautiful marble to deface.
on October 13,2013 | 01:10PM
honokai wrote:
It has always been open at night. The public is free to walk through. The park service does not service it at night. I have no idea why the media would not obtain these facts by doing an interview and presenting this objectively as news.
on October 13,2013 | 01:27PM
cojef wrote:
Main stream media only report news favorable to the administration. The journalism school in colleges and unversities are over-run by liberal professors who only tutor their agenda. Thus, what they espouse cnnot be readily accepted as the truth or factual.
on October 13,2013 | 01:57PM
alfhawaii wrote:
Arrest all these commie right wing nazis
on October 13,2013 | 01:36PM
purigorota wrote:
Right wing commies and nazis? What about those damn conservative liberals!
on October 13,2013 | 04:30PM
purigorota wrote:
Right wing commies and nazis? What about those darn conservative liberals!
on October 13,2013 | 04:32PM
IAmSane wrote:
These are guys who killed Nazis before you even had pubеs.
on October 13,2013 | 07:31PM
alfhawaii wrote:
Arrest them all and put them behind bars.
on October 13,2013 | 01:38PM
alfhawaii wrote:
The right wing uses vets as their props and screws them over.
on October 13,2013 | 01:40PM
gordyf wrote:
YAHOO!!!! It is the '60s all over again Good clean civil disobedience at it's best!!! 'Specially like the part about moving the " Barrycades" to the White house gates. Very inventive. We need more of this.
on October 13,2013 | 06:28PM
KARLO wrote:
Unbelievable! Cruz is one who is most responsible for the government shutdown and now he leads a protest over the shutdown?
on October 14,2013 | 09:31AM
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