December 20, 1989: the day when Timişoara became a free city! In the morning, the workers of Timişoara left their workplaces and, together with other tens of thousands of people, started to march through the city, till they reached its center. At noon, over one hundred thousand people stood in the Opera Plaza of Timişoara, facing the line of armed soldiers that were surrounding the Opera. At around 1,30 pm, the balance was broken by a man who stepped ahead, opened his jacket and asked the army officer to shoot or to step back: “Your weapons are paid by us“, he told the officer. “The bullets in your weapons are paid by us, and so are the army clothes you are wearing. Those people want Freedom, still you have shot them dead in the past days! Shoot us too, now, or step back and let us pass!” said Claudiu Iordache, taking steps ahead, followed by the people around him. And in that moment of tension, the soldiers hesitated, and then broke the line and started to retreat, and the people advanced towards the Opera. In the beginning, around twenty of them managed to enter the Opera, and reached for the Balcony, where an amplifying station had been installed for communist prime- minister Dascalescu, who had wanted to address the people in the attempt to explain again about the hooligans. There, in that Balcony, the people who had entered the Opera addressed the hundred thousand people in the plaza, revealing their names and professions, and asking for the freedom all of them wanted! Lorin Fortuna, Ioan Chiş, Claudiu Iordache, Nicolae Badilescu and the others took turns in speaking to the people. There, in that balcony, a Committee was formed: the first free antitotalitarian party named The Romanian Democratic Front.

 The Romanian Democratic Front wrote the first document of the Romanian Revolution, the Proclamation entitled “A cazut tirania!, in which all the demands of the people of Timişoara were put on paper: the fall of Ceauşescu, the returning of the dead to their families, the freeing of the arrested, the declaring of Timişoara as the first city free of communism, free elections. The enterprises and institutions of Timişoara were invited to send their representatives to the Balcony, so that they could become part of The Romanian Democratic Front

The first speeches from the Opera Balcony, Timisoara, December 20, 1989 

http://mariusmioc.wordpress.com/2008/08/24/timisoara-20-decembrie-1989-primele-cuvintari-din-balconul-operei

(transcription of the recording) 

http://www.trilulilu.ro/muzica-diverse/timisoara-20-dec-1989-primele-cuvintari-din-balcon

(the audio recording)

The Revolution in Timisoara in audio-video recordings – a series made by Marius Mioc 

In the same time, at the communist council county’s building, a similar event was taking place: tens of thousands of people who had marched towards the communist party’s center in Timisoara stormed the place and found their way to the Balcony, just like it was happening in the Opera Plaza. Late in the evening, the two Balconies merged, the demonstrators from the Balcony of the county’s building came to the Opera Balcony. In the Opera Plaza fires were lit during the night, helping the demonstrators warm up as they looked towards the next day. A day in which no one could imagine what would happen, since on December 20, 1989, at noon dictator Ceausescu had aired a speech in which he praised the army for having done its duty, and promised a repression even more radical in the following days. 

December 20, 1989, Opera Square, Timisoara - 1

December 20, 1989, Opera Square, Timisoara - 2

December 20, 1989, Opera Square, Timisoara - 3

December 20, 1989, The Opera Balcony, Timisoara - 1

December 20, 1989, The Opera Balcony, Timisoara - 2

December 20, 1989, The Opera Balcony, Timisoara - 3

The Proclamation of the Romanian Democratic Front, December 20, 1989, Timisoara

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19 December 1989As they reach their workplaces, the people of Timisoara hear each other’s stories. One’s parent has not returned home since December 17. Another one’s spouse has not returned since December 18. For two days, the people of Timisoara have been counting their missing ones. Their stories spread all over the city like flashes of light. In this day they are not talking about anything else but their missing ones. They know that their loved one was last spotted in the battle of Calea Girocului, or the massacre on Decebal bridge. They hear that someone who looked like their loved one was arrested – or worse, that someone was killed near the Cathedral by shots fired from the guns of the repression forces. They hear all this, they speak their stories and their fears and, most of all, their fury, which keeps growing in the day.

It is the day in which the famous Army General Gusa, arriving in Elba Factory to tell the workers that the party is defending the socialism in front of the hooligans, is booed by the workers, in an unprecedented gesture! The workers of Elba ask General Gusa, a representative of the dictatorship’s power in that moment, to give them back their arrested and their dead. They have stopped working since morning, and they tell the general that they are going into strike, until their demands are met.

19 December 1989 is the day in which General Gusa, one of the responsibles for the massacres of Timisoara on December 17 and 18, is opposed by the workers of Elba and asked to leave. He leaves and calls Ceausescu, telling him: “The situation is this: there are no hooligans in Timisoara, there are the Workers!” Unfortunately, even in this moment the dictator will refuse to admit that it’s the end for his reign of terror. He will go on with his paranoia of defending the socialism by firing into his own people, for three more days… 

Timisoara December 1989

It Started. 

December 16, 1989, Timisoara. Hundreds of people who had gathered around Pastor Laszlo Tokes’ house refuse to leave even after the mayor of the city fulfills a few of the promises he had made to the Pastor. Guided by the invisible wand of solidarity, the people of Timisoara step on the path towards Freedom. At around 5 pm in the afternoon of December 16, 1989, Laszlo Tokes is already history, and as he asks the people to leave, so that their presence will not be seen as an anticomunist demonstration, the people leave, but only one step further, on 6th March Boulevard, where they block the tramways. Hundreds more descend from the trams and join the demonstrators. There, on that street, there is such tension in the air and a feeling of power that you can almost touch… an overwhelming joy in the eyes of people, together with the fear for what might follow. But above all, they are celebrating the moment in which they can finally tell Power: “Go to hell! We’ve had enough!” It is the now or never feeling, it is like they are tasting the wine of freedom, without caring for the consequences anymore. 

There, then, between six and seven pm, it finally began. Hesitatingly at first, but quickly turning into an unstoppable torrent. The fear vanished, as the movement of the crowd became stronger and stronger… and then they heard the word, loud and clear for the first time in their life: Free-dom! Free-dom! Free-dom! Free-dom!… a word so incredibly emotional, sweet and powerful… and so precious… It was not long before a song was heard, a song that had been forbidden by the dictatorship: Desteapta-te, Romane! – Awaken, Romanian! The song of the Awakening, the song of the Revolution!… And minutes later, the unthinkable: Jos Ceausescu! Down with Ceausescu! 

It was the point of no return. So when the militia troops appeared, the people opposed them. With bare hands. To the attack of the special troops (the white shield bearers) people responded with stones. But more militia troops appeared, and they started to hit the people with rubber truncheons, so soon the crowd was dispersed, and people started to run… but in the same time, other groups started to form – others had heard the sound of the fights, and had come down from their apartments in the street, where they found themselves caught in the battle. In the Circumvalatiunii area, another large group had been formed, and they were shouting: Down with Ceausescu! and Freedom!… and as the crowd started to move towards the center of the city, chanting: Romanians, come with us! they were attacked by soldiers and militia, who started to hit them badly. At least ten army trucks were in the area, each carrying around fifty soldiers. They were taking on the streets, armed with heavy wooden sticks, and together with the militia troups they were beating and arresting anybody they could put their hands on, using tear gas and water cannons and savagely hitting the people who had dared to speak their will for Freedom! 

In the night that followed, the people of Timisoara learned to attack, to retreat, to return, to have losses, to sing, in impressive choirs, the hymns of the Religion of Liberty, to resist, to bleed, in other words, to fight! It is true, the guns were silent that night, the Power only used the heavy sticks and the rubber truncheons… Huge raids were organized, followed by massive arrests. On the pavement of the municipal militia’s parking, the arrested were trampled underfoot, then taken to the prison full of blood, barely able to move… 

It is said that the crowds do not have a soul, only the peoples do. In Timisoara, the crowds carried the whole of the Romanian people’s soul. Timisoara’s areas became, in turns, the battlefield of those irreconcilable contraries: freedom-obedience or past-future of that lasting time of nations, never too indulgent with the destiny of eternal Romania. In Circumvalatiunii area, in Buzias, Lipovei, in Giroc, groups of fervent people passed by the blocks of flats, calling to fight: “Romanians, don’t be cowards!” And the Romanians, with no experience or method to rely on, listened and got out on the dark streets where the improbable news of the confrontations would soon become a first chapter in the chronicle of the repression… 

Late in the night, the people of Timisoara retired in their homes, less the ones who had been injured and arrested. If we could look from our time into theirs, we would surely see that it was a white night in Timisoara… In the night of December 16, 1989 Timisoara couldn’t sleep. It was an incredibly beautiful moment, for which the people had paid so much: the day in which It Started, the day in which the people of Timisoara raised their eyes to the Light of Liberty, the day in which they heard the unbelievably beautiful word Freedom shouted loud, the day in which they replaced the fear with Courage, and used their new-born courage to learn to fight on the thorny path that would take them to their Liberation!

December 16, 1989, Timisoara. The least we can do is never forget. 

December 20, 1989, Opera Square, Timisoara - 1

Timisoara  1989 Decembrie

 Romania rises! 

December 21, 1989. It is the turn of Lugoj, Arad, Cluj, Brasov, Bucharest to rise and claim their freedom! And, sadly, it is the turn of other brave Romanians to pay their tribute of blood and desperation for the cause of Liberty! In Cluj, around 3,30 pm, a group of friends faces the army soldiers, all in this group are young and brave: Lucian Matis, Calin Nemes, Gavrila Ladiu, Mircea Miclea, and one of them, Calin Nemes, steps ahead, opens his jacket and tells the soldiers: “Fire! I only have one heart!” And they do. The army officers fire in people who have done nothing but ask for Freedom! Calin Nemes, his friend Lucian Matis and a few others fall under the killer bullets of the army soldiers who were supposed to defend their people, not shoot them! A few photographs, taken by an unknown person, shows the scene of the massacre: the bodies laying on the ground, and the victorious soldiers standing beside them, alive and well.

             

In the hours that will come, the people of Bucharest will learn to fight in their turn, just like their fellow Romanians have done in Timisoara, Cluj and the other cities, and they will pay a terrible price for their courage! The story of the big popular meeting that Ceausescu organized to speak about the hooligans in Timisoara, the meeting in which the spark of the rebellion was lit, the story of the Barricade, built by courageous people from Bucharest in front of the repression forces, among which Romeo Raicu, Radu Silaghi, Dumitru Dinca, Dan Iosif, the story of the young people killed in front of the Dalles Hall and the Intercontinental Hotel, for having dared to knee and pray for Timisoara and chant the name of Freedom, like Mihai Gatlan, Ruxandra Mihaela Marcu, Vinerian Radoi, Adrian Don, Mioara Luiza Mirea… lives lost because people refused to live under dictatorship anymore… all those stories of bravery and glory, of tears and grief, all are known…  

              

                         

 

Liberation Day 

December 20, 1989: the day when Timişoara became a free city! In the morning, the workers of Timişoara left their workplaces and, together with other tens of thousands of people, started to march through the city, till they reached its center. At noon, over one hundred thousand people stood in the Opera Plaza of Timişoara, facing the line of armed soldiers that were surrounding the Opera. At around 1,30 pm, the balance was broken by a man who stepped ahead, opened his jacket and asked the army officer to shoot or to step back: “Your weapons are paid by us“, he told the officer. “The bullets in your weapons are paid by us, and so are the army clothes you are wearing. Those people want Freedom, still you have shot them dead in the past days! Shoot us too, now, or step back and let us pass!” said Claudiu Iordache, taking steps ahead, followed by the people around him. And in that moment of tension, the soldiers hesitated, and then broke the line and started to retreat, and the people advanced towards the Opera. In the beginning, around twenty of them managed to enter the Opera, and reached for the Balcony, where an amplifying station had been installed for communist prime- minister Dascalescu, who had wanted to address the people in the attempt to explain again about the hooligans. There, in that Balcony, the people who had entered the Opera addressed the hundred thousand people in the plaza, revealing their names and professions, and asking for the freedom all of them wanted! Lorin Fortuna, Ioan Chiş, Claudiu Iordache, Nicolae Badilescu and the others took turns in speaking to the people. There, in that balcony, a Committee was formed: the first free antitotalitarian party named The Romanian Democratic FrontThe Romanian Democratic Front wrote the first document of the Romanian Revolution, the Proclamation entitled “A cazut tirania!“, in which all the demands of the people of Timişoara were put on paper: the fall of Ceauşescu, the returning of the dead to their families, the freeing of the arrested, the declaring of Timişoara as the first city free of communism, free elections. The enterprises and institutions of Timişoara were invited to send their representatives to the Balcony, so that they could become part of The Romanian Democratic Front

http://ro.altermedia.info/reportajinvestigatii/timioara-20-decembrie-1989-primele-cuvintri-din-balconul-operei_8110.html

The first speeches from the Opera Balcony, Timisoara, December 20, 1989 

http://ro.altermedia.info/reportajinvestigatii/revoluia-din-1989-de-la-timioara-in-inregistrri-audio-video_8095.html

The Revolution in Timisoara in audio-video recordings – a series made by Marius Mioc and presented by Altermedia 

In the same time, at the communist council county’s building, a similar event was taking place: tens of thousands of people who had marched towards the communist party’s center in Timisoara stormed the place and found their way to the Balcony, just like it was happening in the Opera Plaza. Late in the evening, the two Balconies merged, the demonstrators from the Balcony of the county’s building came to the Opera Balcony. In the Opera Plaza fires were lit during the night, helping the demonstrators warm up as they looked towards the next day. A day in which no one could imagine what would happen, since on December 20, 1989, at noon dictator Ceausescu had aired a speech in which he praised the army for having done its duty, and promised a repression even more radical in the following days. 

The End of Servitude.

19 December 1989. As they reach their workplaces, the people of Timisoara hear each other’s stories. One’s parent has not returned home since December 17. Another one’s spouse has not returned since December 18. For two days, the people of Timisoara have been counting their missing ones. Their stories spread all over the city like flashes of light. In this day they are not talking about anything else but their missing ones. They know that their loved one was last spotted in the battle of Calea Girocului, or the massacre on Decebal bridge. They hear that someone who looked like their loved one was arrested – or worse, that someone was killed near the Cathedral by shots fired from the guns of the repression forces. They hear all this, they speak their stories and their fears and, most of all, their fury, which keeps growing in the day.

It is the day in which the famous Army General Gusa, arriving in Elba Factory to tell the workers that the party is defending the socialism in front of the hooligans, is booed by the workers, in an unprecedented gesture! The workers of Elba ask General Gusa, a representative of the dictatorship’s power in that moment, to give them back their arrested and their dead. They have stopped working since morning, and they tell the general that they are going into strike, until their demands are met.

19 December 1989 is the day in which General Gusa, one of the responsibles for the massacres of Timisoara on December 17 and 18, is opposed by the workers of Elba and asked to leave. He leaves and calls Ceausescu, telling him: “The situation is this: there are no hooligans in Timisoara, there are the Workers!” Unfortunately, even in this moment the dictator will refuse to admit that it’s the end for his reign of terror. He will go on with his paranoia of defending the socialism by firing into his own people, for three more days…