UPDATES:

The following video from Facebook user Paul Longenecker shows a confrontation in front of the White House between law enforcement officials and protestors:

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Members of the so-called “Million Vet March” descended on Washington, D.C., Sunday to protest the Obama administration’s decision to close the city’s public memorials.

Thousands of demonstrators arrived early in the morning and tore down barricades that had been set up to block people from visiting the popular attractions, WTOP reports.

The group said military personnel and veterans are “being used a political pawns in the ongoing government shutdown and budget crisis,” according to a statement on its website.

The group also said it has no political leaning, but believes that the closing of memorials is “a despicable act of cowardice.”

Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) spoke to the crowd at around 9:30 am ET and were later joined by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

The crowd energized itself by chanting “Tear down these walls!” and singing “God Bless America” and other patriotic songs.

“Tractor-trailers headed down 17th Street toward the Mall, blaring their horns. The Metropolitan Police Department blocked off the street, prompting the crowd to head up the street, shouting at the police to move their vehicles,” WTOP reports.

“By 11 a.m., the group had headed back to the memorial, and dozens congregated around World War II veterans, shaking their hands and thanking them for their service,” the report adds.

Here’s a collection of pictures from people who were there:

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Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Featured image via @ZephyrK9. This post has been updated.