WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — There were some tense moments outside the White House Sunday when people participating in the “Million Vet March” took down barricades at the World War II Memorial and carried them to the White House in protest of the government shutdown.
On Monday, the situation had calmed down and the protesters may have succeeded in opening memorials that are supposed to be closed.
The signs hanging outside the memorials still say “Closed” but U.S. Park Police and park rangers aren’t stopping people from entering the memorials along the National Mall.
It’s a stark change from last week, when the U.S. Park Service stopped anyone from entering the memorials. That changed when they started allowing veterans to enter the World War II Memorial and then anyone who said they were exercising their free speech rights.
But even then police were prohibiting anyone from entering the top section of the Lincoln Memorial. That has now changed, while the signs and barricades remain up, park rangers and police are not making any effort to stop people from entering the Lincoln Memorial — the same scene can be seen at the Vietnam Wall, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the World War II Memorial.
Calls to the Park Service requesting a clarification on the policy at the outdoor memorials weren’t returned, but it’s clear things are different after Sunday’s confrontation in downtown Washington.