N. Africa, Mideast protests: Egypt's new prime minister says he is 'of the people'
Anti-government protesters pray Friday in Benghazi, Libya, during a call to arms to join the fight against the government forces of President Muammar Gaddafi.
March 4th, 2011
10:51 PM ET

N. Africa, Mideast protests: Egypt's new prime minister says he is 'of the people'

Across the Middle East and North Africa, CNN's reporters and iReporters are covering protests, many of them inspired by revolts in Tunisia and Egypt that toppled those countries' longtime rulers. Check out our interactive map explaining the roots of the unrest in each country and full coverage of the situation in Libya. Have a story to tell from the scene? Click here to send an iReport. CNN's Fareed Zakaria breaks down what the movements toward democracy mean.

Developments on unrest in the Middle East and North Africa:

[LIBYA 9:06 p.m. ET, 4:06 a.m. local] Egypt's new prime minister, Essam Sharaf, appeared before thousands of protesters at Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday, telling them he is "of the people" and would resign if he failed to meet their demands. Sharaf, Egypt's former transportation minister, was sworn in Friday after the resignation of Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister appointed by Hosni Mubarak.

[LIBYA 6:00 p.m. ET, 1:00 a.m. local] The United Nations said Friday it is studying Libya's request to install a more loyal diplomat as its ambassador. A letter from Libya's government asked that former Foreign Minister Ali Abdussalam Treki be approved as its envoy. Treki, who recently served as the president of the U.N. General Assembly, would replace Mohamed Shalgham as ambassador in New York.

[LIBYA 2:16 p.m. ET, 9:16 p.m. local] Libyan government spokesman Majid al-Dursi told CNN that "Zawiya has been captured, Zawiya has been liberated."

Battalions of forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi attacked protesters with mortars and machine guns as they were demonstrating in the city's Martyrs Square, eyewitnesses said. The troops also assaulted an ambulance and killed people who fell wounded.

"Civilians were killed but we can not say how many. We buried nine people so far," the witness said. "The attack was indescribable. Direct gunfire was opened on people."

[SAUDI ARABIA, 12:04 p.m. ET, 8:04 p.m. local] A second protest unfolded in Riyadh after Friday prayer, according to two Saudi activists who requested they not be identified because of concerns for their safety.

As many as 40 anti-government demonstrators gathered outside Al-Rajhi Mosque for a short protest. At least one man involved in organizing the protest was arrested, the activists said.

The activists said the protesters attracted a crowd of worshipers leaving the mosque. Some of the protesters carried signs showing a map of Saudi Arabia that did not contain the words "Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," an affront to the Saudi royal family.

[LIBYA, 11:56 a.m. ET, 6:56 p.m. local] A witness said the Friday attack in Zawiya was an "indescribable" and deadly assault. The witness said forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi attacked peaceful protesters in Zawiya with mortars and machine guns.

[LIBYA, 11:32 a.m. ET, 6:32 p.m. local] A C-130 cargo plane labeled with a U.S. flag landed in Tunisia, Libya, on Friday, CNN has learned.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated Friday that two C-130 planes were en route to Tunisia to help with the humanitarian crisis in Libya.

[LIBYA, 11:02 a.m. ET, 6:02 p.m. local] At least 15 people have been killed and 200 wounded in the Libyan city of Zawiya, according to a doctor, who said "there is a river of blood" at the hospital where the injured are being treated.

Earlier, a report from Libyan State TV said that people in Zawiya, west of Tripoli, and "their public leadership have secured and took control over the city from the 'armed terrorist elements.'"

The doctor said wounded people started arriving at the hospital Friday morning, and most of the injuries are from gunshots.

Many of the injuries are critical, with wounds in the head and chest, the doctor said. The hospital is running out of medical supplies and "the situation is very bad," the doctor said.

[LIBYA, 7:47 a.m. ET, 2:47 p.m. local] Pro-Gadhafi forces have clashed with opposition fighters in Ras Lanuf, opposition sources in eastern Libya told CNN Friday.

[SAUDI ARABIA, 6:36 a.m. ET, 2:36 p.m. local] Demonstrators protested in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province on Friday to demand the release of Shiite prisoners they feel are being held unjustly.

An outspoken Shiite prayer leader who demonstrators say was arrested last Friday was a focal point of the "day of rage" protest, said Ibrahim Al-Mugaiteeb, president of the Human Rights First Society.

Sheikh Tawfeeq Al-Amer was arrested Friday after a sermon stating that Saudi Arabia should become a constitutional monarchy, Al-Mugaiteeb said.

[YEMEN, 6:26 a.m. ET, 2:26 p.m. local] Security forces opened fire on protesters on the northern Yemeni city of Harf Sufyan Friday, killing two people and injuring nine others.

[IRAQ, 6:10 a.m. ET, 2:10 p.m. local] Authorities imposed curfews and limited access to city centers across Iraq as thousands of protesters demanded economic progress and an end to corruption, police said. Demonstrators were reported to be gathering in Baghdad, Basra, Nineveh, Anbar and Salaheddin.

The developments follow weeks of demonstrations across the country by protesters angry about unemployment, poor basic services, corruption and a lack of freedom. At least 13 people died in protests on February 25.

[LIBYA, 4:43 a.m. ET, 11:43 a.m. local] The eastern Libyan town of al-Brega was calm early Friday, witnesses said, a day after forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi launched airstrikes on the oil port in an effort to reclaim it from the opposition.

[LIBYA, 1:59 a.m. ET, 8:59 a.m. local]
Venezuela's president says embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was receptive to the idea of an international commission coming to the North African country when the two heads of state spoke this week.

"I consulted with him. I asked him if he was willing to accept a commission of countries," Chavez said in remarks broadcast on state-run VTV Thursday night.

"And he told me, 'Look, Chavez, not only of countries; I hope the whole United Nations come here to see the reality of what's happening before they start condemning the Libyan government or the Libyan people, before they start thinking as they are now, and preparing to invade Libya."

[LIBYA, 11:03 p.m. ET, 6:03 a.m. local]
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Thursday that embattled Libyan  leader Moammar Gadhafi agreed with Chavez's proposal to send a goodwill commission to Libya when the two leaders spoke Tuesday.

In remarks broadcast on state-run VTV, Chavez did not specify whether such a commission would actually go to Libya.

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Filed under: Africa • Bahrain • Egypt • Libya • Tunisia • World • Yemen
soundoff (196 Responses)
  1. Cesar

    Dear CNN: I want to come clean. I confess that I am the real Cesar, and I did two Franks, one here and one in a different thread. Please don't block me. I promise if you give me this one chance I'll never do it again.

    March 4, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mary H

    I forgive u Cesar

    March 4, 2011 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. CNN Editor In Chief

    All Franks and Hanks have been blocked. The name Frank will no longer be available for future postings. All postings under the Cesar and RUFFNUT monikers will be monitored indefinetly. Thank you.

    March 4, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  4. CNN President

    Stand down editor in Chief.

    March 4, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  5. CNN Vice President

    Come on mister President.

    March 4, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  6. CNN Secretary of Defense

    Can't you tell this is all fake. Wow people

    March 4, 2011 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  7. CNN Mister Matt

    Can we get back on the real subject now, and stop playing stupid childish games.

    March 4, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  8. Frank

    Ok people I'm responsible for all the crap on this blog, pls forgive me and go fukk yourselves.

    March 4, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  9. Frank

    Listen motherfukkers the real Frank is piseed with me but I don't care, the SOB called me a MORON, that is why I'm angry with him, so Frank if you are here I can only say FUKK YOU

    March 4, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      That's exactly what either Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann would say to me. You must be a staunch Tea Partier yourself!

      March 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Frank

    I never called you a Moron, and if I did I'm sorry, but you don't have to use that kind of language to express your anger.

    March 4, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. Frank

    Listen Frank, don't try to be smart with me you ashol, you insulted me twice, this means you are going to be up your ass for two fukkin years, unless you tell your mother to suk my dik

    March 4, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Gee whiz,you Tea Partiers never give up. I guess that it must do both Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann very proud to see your posts!

      March 4, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Matt

    Dam dude, either you've got some serious problems. Or need a fukkin life for real. Your not fooling anyone, you are the same dude changing your name acting as more than one person. But is obvious your a loser with nothing better to do then annoy everyone else on here.

    March 4, 2011 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  13. Frank

    Frank just remember that when you insult people they get fukkin mad, you crossed the line now don't be a fukkin sissy, the next time you insult me I'm gonna fukk your Grandmother, I don't care if she's dead

    March 4, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  14. Frank

    Matt there are three Franks and two of them are idiots

    March 4, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  15. Matt

    Whatever you say man, like Rodney King said..."Can't we all get a bong?"

    March 4, 2011 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
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