Egypt's new PM seeks legitimacy in Tahrir Square

Sharaf tells protesters he will work to meet their goals, will join protesters if he cannot realize them; salutes martyrs of revolution.

Pro-democracy protesters gather in Tahrir Square 311 Reut (photo credit: Peter Andrews / Reuters)
Pro-democracy protesters gather in Tahrir Square 311 Reut
(photo credit: Peter Andrews / Reuters)
CAIRO, March 4 (Reuters) - Egypt's new Prime Minister-designate Essam Sharaf told thousands of protesters in Tahrir Square on Friday that he would work to meet their demands and saluted the "martyrs" of the country's revolution.
Sharaf, a former transport minister, was appointed by Egypt's military rulers on Thursday to replace Ahmed Shafiq, the former air force officer who had been appointed by Hosni Mubarak before he was toppled from the presidency on February 11.
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He told the crowd he had come "to draw legitimacy" from them. He was cheered and carried away from the podium on the shoulders of protesters, escorted by military police.
"I salute the martyrs. Glory and respect to the families of the victims and a special salute to everyone who took part and gave for this white revolution," Sharaf said.
"I am here to draw my legitimacy from you. You are the ones to whom legitimacy belongs," he said.
The protesters had been demanding the resignation of Shafiq along with other members of government appointed by Mubarak before he was swept from power by the mass uprising.
"I have been entrusted with a heavy mission and need patience, will and resolve," Sharaf said.
"The mission that I am trying to realize, with all my heart, is your goals," he said, adding that the day when he could not realize them, he would join the protesters in the square.
"Take the oath, take the oath, take the oath," chanted the crowd, urging Sharaf to take the oath of office in front of them. He declined to do so.