32 years are marked in December 2021 since the fall of the communist regime and since the Romanian Revolution.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said today that, 32 years after the Romanian Revolution, “it is a shame that no one paid for the victims of that terrible massacre”, and “finding the truth and punishing all those responsible for the horrors of December 1989 is an unforgivable remnant of Romanian justice”, which would not he must have peace “until the culprits for the dead of the Revolution are identified and held accountable.” The President made the statements on the occasion of the Victory Day of the Romanian Revolution and Freedom.
President Iohannis had laid a wreath of flowers at the Roadside Cross in University Square on Tuesday in the memory of the 1989 Revolution victims, and he also held a moment of silence.
“Let us always keep alive the memory of the heroes of the December 1989 Revolution!,” President Iohannis said in a Facebook post.
Also on Tuesday, PM Nicolae Ciuca, a retired army man, said that, due to those who contributed to the toppling down of the communist dictatorship, some even with their lives, Romanians can now enjoy freedom. Ciuca reminded that far too less of those who committed abuses during the communist period paid for this.
“Let us think today, with all due respect, of all those who put their shoulder, with much courage and commitment, many of them at the cost of their lives, to the removal of the totalitarian dictatorship in Romania. Their place in history is among the heroes. Thanks to them, we live today in a democratic society that Romanians have hoped for for four and a half decades, in which communism has brutally violated fundamental rights. The atrocities and abuses of the communist system from 1945-1989 ended and destroyed lives for which too few of the guilty paid,” the prime minister said in his message.
The spark of the riot that led to the toppling down of the Ceausescu’s regime started in Timisoara, on December 16 through December 20, 1989, while December 21 became the first day of the Bucharest Revolution.
On December 22, 1989, tens of thousands of Bucharesters took to the streets which determined dictator Nicolae Ceausescu to flee by helicopter. A few hours later, public institutions were attacked by “terrorists” with gunfire. The ambulance doctors say they transported dozens of injured during that day.
Although there has been a file in court on the bloody events from December 1989 for several years now, there is no final verdict yet, with those guilty for the repression still not held accountable.
People were dying mowed down by bullets on the stairs of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Timisoara on December 18, 1989, after the army started to shoot at the youngsters who took the streets to voice their outrage against the communist dictatorship.
The anti-communist Revolution started in Timisoara, where “Down with Ceausescu” slogan was heard for the first time on December 16, 1989.
All started with the communist authorities’ attempt to transfer the Magyar reformed bishop Laszlo Tokes from his post and to evict him from his church flat. On 15 December, a human chain was formed around the block where Tokes was living. The pastor thanked the crowd for support but advised them to leave, and yet several hundred stayed in groups close to the flat. Demonstrations continued the next two days. On Sunday, 17 December, the army fired into the crowd and tens of people were reportedly dead. On 18 December, tens of thousands of industrial workers in Timisoara peacefully took up the protest; by 20 December the city was effectively in insurrection.
December 18 was also the day when tens of bodies were stolen from the morgue in Timisoara and taken to Bucharest and cremated, with the ash being thrown in the sewage. It was called the “Rose” operation, with local military and political leaders from Timisoara being involved.
The protesters’ repression in Timisora had started a day ago, but it continued on December 18. Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s wife, Elena Ceausescu ordered that 40 (43 other sources claim) bodies should be cremated in Bucharest.
Events sum up
- December 19, 1989. Mass protests in Timisoara, the army deployed in garrisons.
- December 20, 1989. The revolutionists get out on the Opera’s balcony, declaring Timisoara the first city released from the communist regime.
- December 21, 1989. Bucharesters took the streets as well, shouting “Down with Ceausescu!”, “Freedom!”. Blockade set up downtown the capital, in front of the famous “Intercontinental” Hotel. First dead reported in Bucharest.
- December 22, 1989. The National Salvation Front founded, with Ion Iliescu on the council’s list.
- December 23, 1989. The fight with the alleged” terrorists escalates. Hundreds of innocent people, mostly youngsters, die.
- December 24, 1989. Dictator Ceausescu’s fate is sealed. Ion Iliescu signs the foundation of the Exceptional Military Tribunal that sentences the Ceausescus to death.
- December 25, 1989. Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu are shot.