Organizers of a veterans march on Washington, D.C., distanced themselves from right-wing political figures who tried to take over the demonstration.
Tea party activists and Republican lawmakers led a protest Sunday to tear down barriers set up at the World War II Memorial during the House Republican-engineered shutdown of the federal government.
But organizers of the Million Veterans March on the Memorials released an official statement Monday on the group’s Facebook page to say they hadn’t invited the political figures.
“The political agenda put forth by a local organizer in Washington DC (Sunday) was not in alignment with our message,” organizers said. “We feel disheartened that some would seek to hijack the narrative for political gain.”
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and other conservative activists joined the demonstration, which was intended to protest the closure of the memorials and the use of veterans as political pawns in the ongoing congressional budget impasse.
Thousands of people converged on the National Mall, some waving Confederate flags and others calling for nonviolent revolution, although the protest’s organizers said their focus was entirely on the closure of the military memorials.
“We will go to Congress after the budget crisis and ask for a bill to be introduced that would prevent any member of the government from closing our memorials down to any American, except for maintenance purposes,” the Million Veterans March group said on its Facebook page.