Obama: Americans laid down lives 'in service to us all'
President Barack Obama speaks Friday at a ceremony in for the four Americans killed Tuesday in Benghazi.
September 14th, 2012
01:23 PM ET

Obama: Americans laid down lives 'in service to us all'

Editor's note: Several protests stemming at least in part from an anti-Islam film produced in the United States are unfolding outside U.S. embassies around the world. Friday's protests follow ones Tuesday at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, where attacks killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.

In Tunisia, protesters have scaled a U.S. Embassy gate and set fire to cars on the property, a journalist there says. In Egypt, the influential Muslim Brotherhood canceled nationwide protests planned for Friday, but a running battle between police and protesters in Cairo continued into its fourth day.

Follow the live blog below for all of the developments around the world.

[Updated at 3:04 p.m. ET] A ceremony at Maryland's Joint Base Andrews for the returned bodies of the four Americans killed at the Benghazi consulate has ended, and the caskets are being carried to hearses. See the 2:59 and 2:51 p.m. entries for remarks by President Barack Obama, who said the four laid down their lives "in service to us all."

[Updated at 2:59 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama, at a ceremony at Maryland's Joint Base Andrews for the returned bodies of the four Americans killed at the Benghazi consulate, added:

"The United States of America will never retreat from the world. We will never stop working for the dignity and freedom that every (person) deserves. ... That’s the essence of American leadership. ... That was their work in Benghazi, and that is the work we will carry on."

At the beginning and toward the end of his remarks, Obama cited the Bible's John 15:13: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Obama said the four killed Americans laid down their lives "in service to us all."

"Their sacrifice will never be forgotten," Obama said.

[Updated at 2:51 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama, at a ceremony for the returned bodies of the four Americans killed at the Benghazi consulate, is now eulogizing the four at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Ambassador Chris Stevens, Obama said, "was everything America could want in an ambassador."

"Four Americans, four patriots. They loved this country. They chose to serve it, and served it well," Obama said. "They had a mission they believed in. They knew the danger, and they accepted it. They didn't simply embrace the American ideal, they lived it; they embodied it. The courage, the hope, and yes, the idealism - that fundamental American belief that we could leave this world a little better than before."

Ex-SEALs, online gaming maven among Benghazi dead

[Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET] At a ceremony for the returned bodies of the four Americans killed at the Benghazi consulate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said:

"Today we bring home four Americans who gave their lives for our country and our values. To the families of our fallen colleagues, I offer our most heartfelt condolences and deepest gratitude."

She saluted Sean Smith, a computer expert, as someone known as "an expert on technology by colleagues in Pretoria, Baghdad, Montreal and The Hague."

She hailed ex-Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods as someone who protected diplomatic personnel since 2010 "in dangerous posts" around the world.

"He had the hands of a healer as well as the arms of a warrior, earning distinction as a registered nurse and certified paramedic," Clinton said of Woods.

Clinton also hailed the other ex-Navy SEAL, Glen Doherty. "He, too, died as he lived, serving his country and protecting his colleagues."

Clinton said Stevens, as a diplomat, "won friends for the United States in far-flung places.” She thanked his parents, who were at the ceremony, for the "gift" that Stevens was.

The ceremony was at a hangar at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

[Updated at 2:35 p.m. ET] The ceremony for the returned bodies of the four Americans killed at the Benghazi consulate has begun. A prayer is being offered. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will speak soon, followed by Obama.

[Updated at 2:31 p.m. ET] Marines at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland are removing from a plane the flag-draped caskets of four Americans killed in the consulate attack in Libya, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The caskets will be placed at a hangar nearby, and President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will give remarks.

[Updated at 2:28 p.m. ET] We're awaiting a ceremony at which U.S. President Barack Obama will honor the arrival of the bodies of of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans killed in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Penetta have entered the hangar where the ceremony will take place at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

[Updated at 2:22 p.m. ET] Marines will take the caskets off a plane at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland. Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will give remarks. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will also be present, Pentagon spokesman George Little said.

People are seated at a facility on the base. The caskets will flank the podium from which Obama and Clinton will speak.

[Updated at 1:41 p.m. ET] Three people were killed and 28 wounded during protests outside the U.S. Embassy in Tunis on Friday, Tunisia state television reported.

[Updated at 1:23 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will join Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at this afternoon's "transfer of remains ceremony" marking the return of the remains of the four Americans killed this week in Benghazi, Libya.

Obama and Clinton will deliver brief remarks at the 2:15 p.m. ET ceremony at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

[Updated at 1:15 p.m. ET] Here is video from today's protests in Khartoum, Sudan:

[Updated at 12:23 p.m. ET] Nigerian military and police fired shots to disperse a crowd of protesters in the city of Jos, an eyewitness said.

About 2,000 people protesting the anti-Islamic film gathered at a central mosque, and security forces intervened when the crowd started moving toward the city center.

[Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET] Some protesters who scaled the gates of the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, reached a garden outside the building but have not breached the building itself, journalist Zeid Mhirsi reports.

Also, the thick, black smoke that we previously reported was near the Embassy is coming from burning vehicles on the Embassy grounds, Mhirsi reported.

Earlier, he reported that protesters took down a U.S. flag from a pole at the Embassy and replaced it with a black flag. Police were firing tear gas in an attempt to disperse them. (See 10:20 and 10:42 a.m. entries.) Hard-line Muslims known as Salafists were among the demonstrators, Mhirsi reported.

[Updated at 12:06 p.m. ET] Some Friday protests that hadn't yet been mentioned in this blog post:

In Afghanistan, hundreds of demonstrators in the eastern Nangarhar province burned a U.S. flag and chanted "Death to America" and "We condemn the film." The demonstration lasted about an hour and ended peacefully, a local official said. The Afghan government has ordered an indefinite block of YouTube to prevent people there from watching the clips and staging violent protests.

In Baghdad, Iraq, hundreds of followers of the radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chanted "No to America, no to Israel."

In Jerusalem, Palestinians marched from the al-Aqsa mosque toward the U.S. Consulate, but were prevented from reaching the mission by Israeli riot forces.

In Syria, hundreds gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Damascus. Protesters waved placards that condemned the film and blamed the U.S. administration for allowing the production and broadcast of it, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency.

In Iran, the Islamic Propagation Coordination Council called for nationwide rallies Friday to protest the film and what it is calling a U.S.-backed plot against Muslims, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

[Updated at 11:57 a.m. ET] An update on Friday's protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan: Journalist Isma'il Kushkush says no protesters have been able to get inside the compound, and that police and security forces appear to have the situation under control.

Small fires are burning nearby. Kushkush said he believes protesters set tires ablaze. For more on the Khartoum protests, including one at the German Embassy there, see the 9:54 and 8:42 a.m. entries.

[Updated at 11:52 a.m. ET] Ninety-three protesters have been arrested in Egypt since Thursday night, Egyptian Interior Ministry spokesman Alaa Mahmoud said. Forty-eight officers have been injured, he added.

[Updated at 11:40 a.m. ET] Protesters in southern India have been arrested on suspicion of throwing rocks at the U.S. Consulate in Chennai, the city police commissioner said. As many as 200 protesters were demonstrating in front of the building, but the number arrested was not reported. There were no reported injuries.

[Updated at 10:57 a.m. ET] Video from Tunisia's capital shows thick, black smoke rising from an area near the U.S. Embassy. It's not clear what was on fire.

Protesters there had taken down a U.S. flag from the embassy property and replaced it with a black flag, journalist Zeid Mhirsi reported. Police fired tear gas at protesters as some of them climbed the property's walls.

[Updated at 10:42 a.m. ET] Protesters have taken down a U.S. flag from a pole at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, and replaced it with a black flag, journalist Zeid Mhirsi reports.

Earlier, Mhirsi reported protesters were climbing the building's gates, and police fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse them. (See 10:20 a.m. entry.) Hard-line Muslims known as Salafists were among the demonstrators, Mhirsi reported.

[Updated at 10:25 a.m. ET] A U.S. Marine Corps security team is being sent to help protect U.S. diplomatic installations in Yemen, including the Embassy in Saana, a senior U.S. official said, according to CNN's Barbara Starr.

Earlier today, Yemeni police opened fire to stop protesters from reaching the U.S. Embassy in Saana, witnesses said (see 7:31 a.m. entry).

The protection team is similar to the team of 50 Marines that was sent earlier this this week to Tripoli, Libya, in the wake of the attack in Benghazi.

[Updated at 10:20 a.m. ET] Protesters are climbing the gates of the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, and police have fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse them, journalist Zeid Mhirsi reports.

Some protesters, who are about 20 meters outside the U.S. Embassy gates, are throwing rocks at the police, Mhirsi says. He says
that some protesters are waving black flags as they attempt to vandalize the gates.

[Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to receive the remains of the U.S. diplomats killed in Libya at Andrews Air Force Base at 2 p.m. ET Friday.

[Updated at 10:13 a.m. ET] Add Tunisia to the list of Friday's protests. Hundreds of protesters have left Friday prayers and are heading to the U.S. Embassy in a neighborhood in Tunis, journalist Zeid Mhirsi reported. There is a strong Tunisian police presence in the area.

Hard-line Muslims known as Salafists were among the demonstrators, who were in pickup trucks and on foot.

[Updated at 9:54 a.m. ET] Ron Hawkins, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, said that because Friday is a non-work day, most of the staff and Embassy personnel are not there as protesters gather outside the building. As far as security goes, Marines are assigned there, and local police officers were sent there earlier Friday as a precautionary measure, Hawkins said.

Earlier Friday, a fire was set at the vacated German Embassy as protesters gathered there. The protest at the U.S. building so has been peaceful, journalist Isma'il Kamal Kushkush said (see 8:42 a.m. entry).

[Updated at 9:31 a.m. ET] More information from Khartoum, Sudan: Protesters have gathered outside the U.S. Embassy there, a journalist at the scene said. The demonstration is peaceful so far.

Earlier today, protesters in Khartoum set the German Embassy on fire and also rallied outside the nearby UK Embassy (see 8:42 a.m. entry). The German Embassy was vacated before the protests.

[Updated at 9:24 a.m. ET] Lebanon has joined the list of Friday protests. One person was killed by police in Tripoli, Lebanon, after a group of armed men stormed a KFC restaurant amid protests in the city, Lebanese security forces told CNN.

About 40 armed men were spotted among 3,000 protesters, officials said.

Gen. Bassam Ayoubi, of the Lebanese internal security forces, said a group of armed men stormed the KFC and asked people to leave. Ayoubi said that the armed men then set the KFC on fire, at which time police arrived and began to fire at the armed men, killing at least one of them. Twenty-five were injured, he said, but it wasn't clear which of the injured were on which side.

[Updated at 9:09 a.m. ET] The German Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, was vacated before the protest that reportedly has set the building on fire, the German Foreign Ministry said.

The German Foreign Ministry also said that the Sudanese ambassador to Germany has been called in to the German
Foreign Ministry in Berlin to discuss the situation in Khartoum.

Journalist Isma'il Kamal Kushkush told CNN about 30 minutes ago that the German Embassy in Khartoum was on fire after protests against the online anti-Islam video.

[Updated at 9 a.m. ET] An update on protests in Egypt, while we await more information about the burning German Embassy in Sudan:

Fifteen protesters have been injured in Egypt on Friday, according to Dr. Mohamed Sultan, a health ministry spokesman. Most of the injuries were related to inhaling tear gas or getting it into their eyes.

Two hundred twenty-four people have been injured this week in protests in Cairo, 11 of whom have been hospitalized, Sultan said.

On Friday, officers armed with shields and batons, backed by an armored personnel carrier, rushed a group of several hundred protesters shortly after dawn to quell a violent demonstration that had raged through the night in Cairo. After the rush, a smaller number of demonstrators regrouped near the U.S. Embassy across from police lines, and stones and tear-gas canisters once again crossed in the air. Police fired rubber bullets at protesters. The army began constructing a wall of concrete blocks about 10 feet high across the road leading to the embassy.

Hours later, in the afternoon, youths climbed the newly built wall and threw rocks at police, according to eyewitnesses. Security forces fired tear gas and used water cannons to hold off the rioters. But 100 to 200 hundred meters away in Tahrir Square, a few thousand protesters congregated peacefully.

[Updated at 8:42 a.m. ET] The German Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan was on fire Friday after protests against the online anti-Islam video, a journalist on the scene, Isma'il Kamal Kushkush, said. No embassy personnel were believed to be inside.

The UK Foreign Office also says protesters were demonstrating Friday outside its embassy, next to the German Embassy, in Khartoum.

[Updated at 8:35 a.m. ET] U.S. embassies aren't the only Western diplomatic posts facing protests on Friday. Protests have been reported outside the UK and German embassies in Khartoum, Sudan.

UK Foreign Office Spokesperson Mandy Heffield confirmed there is an ongoing demonstration outside the British Embassy in Khartoum. Sudanese police are on the scene, Heffield said.

Earlier, a journalist on the scene said thousands of protesters had marched on the German Embassy in Khartoum, and that a few protesters jumped onto the embassy grounds and pulled down the German flag. Riot police fired tear gas, causing the protesters to pull back, the journalist said.

[Updated at 8:30 a.m. ET] Thousands of protesters marched on the German Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, on Friday, as protests against a short online film mocking the Prophet Mohammed swept across the Muslim world, a journalist on the scene said.

A few demonstrators were able to jump into the embassy grounds and pull down the German flag, Isma'il Kamal Kushkush said. Riot police fired tear gas, causing the protesters to pull back. The German Embassy is next to the British Embassy, which did not seem to be the focus of the demonstration.

[Updated at 7:40 a.m. ET] Afghanistan saw its first anti-American protest over the film Friday, as hundreds of demonstrators burned a U.S. flag and chanted "Death to America" and "We condemn the film."

The demonstration in Nangarhar province lasted about an hour and ended peacefully, said Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the governor of the eastern province.

[Posted 7:31 a.m. ET] Yemeni police opened fire Friday to stop protesters from reaching the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, witnesses told CNN.

Meanwhile, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood canceled nationwide demonstrations Friday, except for one in Cairo's Tahrir Square against the controversial film about the Prophet Mohammed, the group said in a Twitter message.

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Filed under: Egypt • Lebanon • Libya • Sudan • Tunisia
soundoff (3,687 Responses)
  1. NEOhio

    Make fun of Christianity: they'll be hurt and maybe angry but nobody cares. Make fun of Judaism: they'll call you a Neo-Nazi and the country will shun you and get angry but nobody cares. Make fun of Islam: oh! oh no! You die now! Everyone and everything else is fair game but this should be against the law! It's not free speech- it's a hate crime... blah blah blah...

    Even playing field? Not so much.
    Sorry Islam (and Christianity and Judaism and other religions), you have every right to exist, we have every right to choose whether or not we will respect your POV. Maybe you would get more respect if you didn't kill everyone who doesn't agree with you.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • samba66

      this is crazy , they want to take over the world , not intagrat in to it , it wont work and they will pay a havy price for it soon and go back in time to the stone age !!!!!!!!

      September 14, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      OH how true. There answer to everything is Violence.... Kill, Stone to death... Its very sad... They wonder why they get so little respect. Its Ok to hide behind women and children and shoot guns and missels... BLA BLA BLA im going to go onto something else. In my opinion just as so many times before they bomb and kill inoscent people and then hide behind there women and children and say make faces. Such cowards...

      September 14, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
    • ali baba

      i agree.muslim are making fun about all religion and no body object but make fun about islam is so bad

      September 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. PacManZombie

    All this fuss over an independent film that less than 1% of Americans even knew existed before the Muslims went batcrap crazy over it?
    What about their real films that showed the real be-headings of Americans that pretty much every American knew about?

    September 14, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Robert

    You can't fix stupid. We need to stop trading with these countries and buying their oil. Without our money they'll self-destruct.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Razorking

      Then maybe we need elected officials who will push for more fuel efficient vehicles and conservation, in addition to getting down to the hard work of developing clean self reliant forms of new energy. It absolutely can be done if we have the determination to do it. The answer it to continue to expand drilling and exploration for petroleum, it just makes us use more and ultimately depend more upon nations who have the resource in abundance. Republicans in general are more aligned with the big oil companies, for them, profit is the paramount goal, they don't have our best interest at heart. The Democrats are not much better, in my view, however they are slightly better. We need to find a way to get representation that will move us forward, internal combustion engines are very old technology, it's all about lining somebody else s pockets – and we have to move toward policies that make our world better – period.

      September 14, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. Alex

    By the way... two blocks northeast of Ground Zero (I work two blocks northwest of the WTC site) a mosque is being built.. FREE ARABIC and ISLAMIC lessons... we are being COLONIZED, EVERYWHERE. And what we do? just complain and complain in forums like this.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • WASP

      @alex: so you are one of those hypocrites that was shouting about how atheists are wrong for trying to get the cross at the twin towers site removed, yet you find no problem wanting a simple mosque moved?

      HYPOCRITE.

      September 14, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Razorking

      Uh, that's because we are free nation – try to remember that we are supposed to better than them

      September 14, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. Eric

    The headline for this article on CNN's homepage (it's currently the top article) reads – "Rage against anti-Islam film spreads to Africa". Where, exactly, does whoever created that headline think Libya and Egypt are?

    September 14, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Gregg

      Good point.

      September 14, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  6. Foreverwar

    The Hardee's and KFC could have just been an unrelated grease fire.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Elmer Fudd

    It's time to take out the trash once and for all. Carpet bomb their flying carpets.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Taskmaster

    I wonder if these muslims ever stop to think about the anti-muslim reprisals their actions could bring about. Muslims are not the only people who can resort to violence. Muslims all over the world could be made to suffer for the actions of these killers.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. kelindquist

    You may want to think about changing your headline. Last I checked, Libya and Egypt are already in Africa.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Nate

    I hope this isn't a spark that ignites something big. Hopefully cooler head prevail.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. stefan

    Nice headline, but you forgot to notice one thing. The whole thing started in Africa!

    September 14, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Mary

    Where is our President?

    September 14, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • WASP

      @MARY: what would you have him do?
      bomb them? send in more troops?

      September 14, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Hopefully not at KFC......

      September 14, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • odk1

      he is working and you need to get off your ss & the same.

      September 14, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Protect them. This is a very serious situation and he is no where to be found. Playing golf???

      September 14, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
    • reldra

      "Mary
      Where is our President?"
      Where do you think? organizing what forces to send where and having talks with the leaders of these countries and our allies. I don't know that i've ever seen a more useless question. Troll.

      September 14, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • sensor

      Gladly he is not having an over-reactionary emotional response. There is more in motion and more strategic level moves to make. Whats good for TV isnt necessarily the right move. He will get the skinny from the intel agencies before he does something or says anything.

      September 14, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jim

    Once there oil is gone, so are they. It just a matter of time. To bad they don't know how to use there extreme dedication and energy to improve their own countries and future. No...Let's make everyting about religion and the west!! This helps keep the muslim population poor and uneducated. Just think what will be left in those POS places once the west pulls out. It already a sand pit from the poulation raping the land of any trees for fuel.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mickey1313

      That is the point. You speak as if these things are people, they are not. They are brain washed dogs. I've seen the video, it may be tasteless, but it is historically correct. Islam just can't bear truth about its history and beliefs.

      September 14, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  14. CatastropheCathy

    All these stupid people are doing is allowing some no name attention seeking loser to control them like little puppets. They are bringing more fame to him and wasting their time. Just ignore it and it will go away.

    September 14, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Jeffrey

    Headline: "Rage against anti-Islamic film spreads to Africa". Hello! That's is where the rage started and has played out. Libya and Egypt are both on the African continent. Geography 101: CNN gets an "F". Geez!

    September 14, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rhope

      Was thinking the same theing.........but often the Arab Africa is thought of as 'middle east'. So Africa is south of Egypt and north of South Africa -(south of Sahara, north of River Limpopo as is commonly said).

      September 14, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
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