Thousands of protesters pushed through barriers to make their way to the World War II Memorial closed under government shutdown in Washington DC. Local police donned riot gear as they tried to control the protesting veterans.
The crowd chanted “Tear down these walls” and sang patriotic songs in protest to the closing of monument during the government crisis, according to local news coverage.
DC police putting on riot gear against veterans pic.twitter.com/Y5BVVluoh2— Capt Obvious (@Steven41Steven) October 13, 2013
About fifteen tractor trailer trucks from the Ride for the Constitution protest, which took place two days ago, joined the rally by a group called the Million Vet March to show their support.
According to a statement on the group’s website, they feel military personnel and veterans are “being used a political pawns in the ongoing government shutdown and budget crisis.” Organizers called the shutting down of memorials “a despicable act of cowardice.”
Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas as well as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin joined the crowds.
A group of protesters assembled at the barriers to the WW II Memorial and headed to the Capitol building, others moved the rally to other parts of the capital. Some of the protestors made their way to the White House where they threw barricades aside.
The organizers also launched a petition asking that the memorials be immediately opened and also for legislation so that these monuments can never be closed again.
The first US government shutdown in 17 years closed major landmarks and halted many services, suspending as many as 800,000 federal employees from work.