Freedom march, questions and criticism mark 30 years since Romania’s bloody revolution

Revolutia din 1989 la Timișoara. Piața Libertății. Sursa foto:

Romanians are commemorating 30 years since the overthrow of the Communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu, with hundreds staging a „freedom march” in the town of Timisoara where the 1989 revolt began.

Late Sunday, people waving Romanian flags marched to a church where Reformed Church pastor was expelled for criticizing the Ceausescu dictatorship in his sermons.

Authorities wanted to forcibly deport Toekes, an ethnic Hungarian, but crowds gathered around his home to stop the move, sparking protests in the southwestern city which fanned to the rest of Romania. Days later, Ceausescu and his wife fled from the Politburo headquarters, were tried and executed which led to the collapse of the communist regime.

But Romanian President Klaus Iohannis used the occasion to deliver a sharp rebuke during a parliamentary session dedicated to the revolution Monday, saying the country had failed to find and punish those accountable for the bloodshed which resulted in more than 1,000 deaths.

Klaus Iohannis
Foto: Inquam Photos/George Călin

“Thirty years since the revolution, we haven’t found out the truth what happened in December 1989,” he said. “The Romanian state impermissibly delayed finding out the truth, and this is a stone hanging on the neck of justice.”

“The sacrifice of Romanians who faced bullets, tanks and the most terrible forms of torture are among the fundamental questions about the revolution,” and must be answered, he said.

The uprising in Romania was the last anti-communist revolt of the year in Eastern Europe. Communist rule began to falter across the Soviet bloc in the spring of 1989.

On Sunday, people recalled the first protests, yelling slogans that were uttered on the streets 30 years ago. “Today in Timisoara, tomorrow across the country.”

Two days after people began to rally in support of Toekes, Ceausescu gave the order to troops to open fire on protesters. Some 60 were killed, and more than 2,000 were wounded on Dec 17, 1989, in the city,

Demonstrations reached the capital Bucharest on Dec 21. After the crowd jeered the Communist leader, he fled with his wife Elena in a helicopter, but they were captured and arrested.

They were condemned and summarily executed on Christmas Day 1989.

Across Romania, 1,104 people were killed during the revolt, and 3,552 were injured.


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