File on June 1990 miners’ riot reopened

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The file related to the violent intervention of miners in Bucharest on June 13-15, 1990 was reopened after Romania’s Prosecutor General invalidated the decisions not to initiate proceedings in that case. The Supreme Court is expected to confirm the decision or not.

Romania was compelled to resume investigations into this file following a ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in September last year. ECHR claimed Romania’s obligation to administer justice to the victims of the crimes against humanity, regardless of the time passed since the events.

Questioned if the reopening of this file will somehow affect him, former president Ion Iliescu answered: “Why? No. I was contemporary with the events and I had some responsibilities, but the reopening of the file is something else. Anyone is free to analyze and to comment some closed or far-off events, there is no problem at all.”

The case on June 1990 miners’ riot was closed in 2009. Official figures say that seven people were killed and more than a thousand were wounded during the third miners’ riot on June 13-15.

The Romanian miners of Jiu Valley were called by the newly elected power to Bucharest to end the riots that broke up on 13 June 1990. As former President Ion Iliescu put it, the miners were called to save the “besieged democratic regime” and restore order and democracy in Bucharest. The government trucked in thousands of miners from the Jiu Valley to Bucharest to confront the demonstrators. The rest of Romania and the world watched the government television broadcasts of miners brutally grappling with students and other protesters.

Over the course of a month-long demonstration in University Square, many protesters had gathered with the goal of attaining official recognition that communists and former communists (including President Iliescu himself) should be prevented from holding official functions. Many people, most of them intellectuals, were dissatisfied with Iliescu’s first government, made up mostly of former communist, because it implemented reforms very slowly or not at all. There had been a protest and hunger strike since 20 May, the general elections day, when the protesters were angry that Iliescu’s party won the elections mostly because the opposition had no chance to mount an effective campaign. Some among the protesters in University Square grew violent and attacked the police headquarters and the national television station. When the police were unable to contain the violence, Iliescu appealed to the miners to defend the country. Special trains transported some 10,000 miners to the capital, where the miners violently confronted anyone they saw as opposing the government, as Wikipedia informs.

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