DC crowd pushes through barriers to WWII memorial

DC crowd pushes through barriers to WWII memorial

Credit: Getty Images

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: A man in a wheel chair recites the Pledge of Allegiance at a rally centered around reopening national memorials closed by the government shutdown, supported by military veterans, Tea Party activists and Republicans, on October 13, 2013 in Washington, DC. The rally was inspired by a desire to re-open national memorials, including the World War Two Memorial in Washington DC, though the rally also focused on the government shutdown and frustrations against President Obama. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

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by Associated Press

KREM.com

Posted on October 13, 2013 at 11:35 AM

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

Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas were among those who gathered Sunday morning, along with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, according to WTOP Radio (http://bit.ly/GXQKGV ). Cruz said President Barack Obama is using veterans as pawns in the shutdown.

"Tear down these walls," the crowd chanted. Protesters also sang "God bless America" and other patriotic songs as they entered the memorial plaza.

The memorial has become a political symbol in the bitter fight between Democrats and Republicans over who is at fault since the shutdown began. Earlier rallies have focused on allowing access for World War II veterans visiting from across the country with the Honor Flight Network.

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

Jeff Thompkins of New York told WRC-TV (http://bit.ly/169jTp4 ) he was there because people fight and died for the freedom to visit public spaces and to protest.

"Our constitutional rights are being taken away," Thompkins said. "People made the ultimate sacrifice, and they should be open to the public, open to everyone to come down here and see this. This is ridiculous. This is not just and not fair. It's just not fair."

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