People in Romania are remembering their country’s bloody revolution, on the 20th anniversary of the start of demonstrations and clashes that led to the fall of Nicolae Ceausescu.
A mass protest broke out in Timisoara on December the 16th, 1989, triggered by a deportation order served on a Hungarian Reformed Church pastor.
Euronews spoke to the pastor, who had been accused of conspiracy against the state.
Laszlo Tokes said: “The solidarity demonstrations started on the 15th of December. We were deported on the 17th and until that time day and night there were crowds around my church and the demonstrations continued.
“In the first days, it was simply a demonstration of solidarity near the minister of that church and on the second day, on the 16th, it transformed into a general protest against the circumstances and unsupportable conditions of the regime and then into an anti-communist uprising.”
The demonstrations were the start of the end for the Ceausescu regime, which fell within 10 days, Ceausescu and his wife immediately tried and executed. The military had tried unsuccessfully to crush the mounting protest with force. And some soldiers refused orders to shoot.
Nicolae Durac, a former officer, said he thought his refusal to carry out the order would mean that others would also refuse to carry it out. “But this did not happen,” he said.
Up to 100 people died in the first few days of the unrest, and the overall death toll from the revolution is reported to be more than a thousand.