REVOLUTION 30: 23 - 31 December 1989 events in Bucharest and in other Romanian cities

Romania was the only country facing wide spread violence during the 1989 revolutions; officially, 1,104 people died and 3,300 were injured. Nicolae Ceausescu's dictatorship, believed to be the most brutal and repressive in Eastern Europe, was without doubt one of the main reasons for such a tragic end - as the work ''The 1989 Revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe. From Communism to Pluralism'' (Manchester University Press, 2013) brings to mind. The tragic events continued even after the December 21-22 1989 days. On December 23 1989 gun shoots continued in several cities around the country. In Bucharest, the military units and other strategic objectives continued to be attacked by diversionary groups; numerous people died or were wounded. The diversionary groups created confusion among the population, the soldiers and the crews of armed citizens. "Two major tragic events occurred, among others: - in the morning - Soldiers and officers from a military unit in Campina boarded three buses and they were sent to Campina to defend the International Otopeni Airport. Close to his objective, the troops from the airport's defence unit, not knowing the identity of the convoy open fire. As many as 39 people died and numerous others were injured. Several minutes later, another bus, which belonged to the TAROM airline, was also attached, as it was thought it belonged to the enemy. - in the evening - Seven officers and NCOs, among whom Gheorghe Trosca, the Chief of Staff of the Special Anti-terrorist Fighting Unit (USLA), were killed in a shootout with the soldiers defending the headquarters of the Ministry of National Defence. The USLA members had been sent to strengthen the defence unit," according to the work "Romania. Data and facts. 1989-2009" (AGERPRES National News Agency, 2010). On the same date, Ion Iliescu sends a message, around 17:00hrs, to the radio and television stations, on behalf of the CFSN, showing that the "coordinated actions fighting terrorists, which caused victims among soldiers" became a priority, adding that "all the military units and most militia units and those belonging to the Ministry of Interior acted coordinately against the terrorists." He also announced the arrest of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu, Dinca, Postelnicu, Bodu etc. and the release of all political prisoners. "The few people who got arrested as "terrorists" were soon to be released. The repeated requests of the parents of the young people who died at Revolution never received an answer. The responsible for the tens of soldiers from the M.U. 0865 who died at the Otopeni Airport also remained unknown" - shows the "Romania's history in data" (Enciclopedica Publishing House, Bucharest, 2003). In Timisoara, hundreds of people celebrated downtown the fall of Ceausescu, while the diversionary attacks continue on the objectives defended by the army and several reconnaissance missions were carried out over the city. In Targoviste, at 00.15hrs, several unidentified persons opened fire against the military unit holding Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. At 4.30hrs, two aircraft that were flying above the same unit and were considered hostile were attacked by the anti-aircraft defence ("Romania. Data and facts. 1989-2009"). Soviet leader Mihail Gorbaciov informed the Congress of the People's Deputies about the events in Romania. In Chisinau, the capital of the Socialist Republic of Moldova, people lit thousands of candles downtown and a religious services in memory of the victims in Romania is held. On 24 December 1989, a release of the National Salvation Front Council (FSN) conveyed: "The Romanian people has once again stated the huge moral energy unleashed by its liberating will. The Army has done its duty, just as a large part of the employees of the Interior Ministry. The Revolution has won." The FSN Council announced the adoption of some "exceptionally necessary measures for the current moment." These measures were aimed at the complete and immediate cease of fire throughout the entire country and the declaration of acts of vandalism and personal revenge as illegal. It's announced that "the guilt of the dictator and his former lackeys before history and laws will be established by courts." The Army is declared the only institution of the state that can own firearms and the persons who came into possession of weapons had to surrender them by 25 December, 17:00hrs. Furthermore, the population is informed that the Interior Ministry units will be integrated within the National Defence Ministry (MApN). ("Romania. Data and facts. 1989-2009") The Revolution and the FSN receive the blessing of the Romanian Orthodox Church; members of the Holy Synod sign a solidarity message with the cause of freedom and democracy. The television and radio broadcast carols, for the first time after more than four decades, on Christmas Eve. On the streets, intersections, subway entrances, as well as around strategic objectives, teams of militaries and citizens, especially youngsters ensure order. In some of the areas of the city, gunshots are sporadically recorded. Military aircraft perform surveillance flights over the Capital - the abovementioned source brings to mind. At this date the Romanian Social Democratic Party (PSDR) which was founded in 1893 is re-established. In Timisoara, the inhabitants of the city further celebrate the victory of the Revolution. In the places where people have fallen, candles are lit and wreath are laid. The new authorities take measures to ensure the defence position at institutions and units in the city, as well as for the normalisation of the activity. In Targovoiste, the military unit where the Ceausescu couple is places under arrest is repeatedly flown over by unidentified air targets which are attacked by the defence. Moreover, it is subjected to some ground attacks with infantry armament. The shootout between the defence forces and the unidentified forces also take place in Cluj-Napoca, Arad, Craiova. ("Romania. Data and facts. 1989-2009") On 25 December 1989, in the morning, carols are broadcast on TV and radio, and the Christmas Mass at the Patriarchal Cathedral is broadcast live for the first time. The television announces that Elena and Nicolae Ceausescu have been tried by an Extraordinary Military Court. The Ceausescu spouses were accused of genocide (over 60,000 victims), the organisation of armed actions against the Romanian people, the destruction of communal goods, undermining national economy and the attempt to flee the country based on funds deposited in foreign banks worth over 1 billion dollars. The two of them were sentenced to death and their estate was confiscated. The defendants didn't recognise the legitimacy of the court, consequently, they refused to appeal. The sentence was executed around 15:45hrs, at the military unit in Targoviste, where they had been detained since 23 December, according to the sources mentioned. "This was the last political trial, carried out according to the methodology and procedures established and enforced by the communist regime in the '40s and '50s and even subsequently. The sentences at such 'trials' were decided by the political factor through the security bodies who had prepared the indictment. In this case, the entire judicial procedure of the communist regime was compressed, given the exceptionally circumstances of the moment. It's worth bringing to mind, that Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife have been convicted on the same principles of judgment enforced by the communist regime against all those whom they considered adversaries, principles fully approved back then and by Nicolae Ceausescu,'' the "Romania's history in data" volume shows.   On this date, the first issue of Adevarul newspaper comes out, a political and social daily paper. The Hungarian Democratic Union of Romania (UDMR) is established. On the night of 25 to 26 December 1989, the military team defending the Otopeni International Airport is strongly attacked by diversionary groups. ("Romania. Data and facts. 1989-2009"). On 26 December 1989, Petre Roman is appointed as prime minister of Romania's government, by decree of the National Salvation Front Council. The State Security Department and other bodies under the coordination of the Interior Ministry are transferred to the MApN. Laws, decrees, normative acts of the former regime are abrogated, among which: all decrees granting titles and orders of Romania to Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu; the law on the establishment, organisation and functioning of the Defence Council; the law systematising the territory and urban and rural localities; the decree regulating the abortion; the decree on establishing the legal situation of the former Greek-Catholic Church. In Bucharest and in several cities of the country gunfires are still heard sporadically. Extraordinary Military Tribunals are established empowered to judge, in an emergency procedure, the cases of terrorism, and the sentences are to be enforced immediately. A deadline for laying down the arms is set on 28 December, at 17:00hrs. On 27 December 1989, the first plenary sitting of the National Salvation Front Council takes place. The decree-law is adopted on the establishment, organisation and functioning of the CFSN and its territorial councils. The CFSN Executive Bureau is elected: Ion Iliescu - Chairman, Dumitru Mazilu - First Deputy Chairman, Cazimir Ionescu and Kiraly Karoly - Deputy Chairmen. The Extraordinary General Assembly of the Romanian Academy decides to cancel the resolutions having granted academic titles to Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu. Political, diplomatic and cultural personalities worldwide sent support messages for the Romanian people: US President George Bushg, Bulgarian General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Bulgarian Communist Party Petar Mladenov, Communist Party of Czechoslovakia Chair Ladislav Adamec, writer Vaclav Havel, French President Francois Mitterand, West German Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher, NATO Secretary General Manfred Worner, British PM Margaret Thatcher, according to the tome "Romania's history in data." On 28 December 1989, under a series of decrees the following ministries are set up: National Economy; Agriculture and Food Industry; Water, Forests and Environment; Culture; Chemical and Petrochemical Industry; Electricity. Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu are secretly, buried at the Ghencea Civilian Cemetery of Bucharest. The Christian Democratic National Peasants' Party (PNTCD) is established by the merger of the National Peasant's Party with the Christian Democratic National Party (created on 22 December 1989). It is officially registered on 7 January 1990. The provisional committee of the Writers' Union is established: Mircea Dinescu, chairman; members: Ana Blandiana, Dan Desliu, Stefan Augustin Doinas, Domokos Geza, Octavian Paler, Eugen Simion, Stelian Tanase, Dan Haulica - spokesman, "Romania's history in data" notes. On this date also, the German Democratic Forum of Romania is established. On 29 December 1989, a CFSN decree disbands the State Security Department. Moreover, a decree-law is a adopted for monitoring, judging and punishing some crimes providing the increase in punishments for acts of vandalism, destructions, thefts, assault and battery and violence. On 30 December 1989, the Group for Social Dialogue is established in Bucharest. On 31 December 1989, Ion Iliescu announces on the occasion of the New Year speech, the abolishment of the death penalty on Romania's territory, the cessation of the food product exports, the import of some consumer goods, the cessation of some costly public works, such as the Danube-Bucharest Channel, the Danube-Jiu-Arges hydro-technical system, the Port of Constants free zone, the Anina thermal power plant or the People's House. At the same time, he announces the granting of some plots of land for personal use of up to 5,000 square metres to cooperative members. A decree-law is adopted for the repatriation of Romanian citizens and former Romanian citizens and a decree-law on the establishment, organisation and functioning of Romania's Government. The first meeting of the provisional Government, headed by Petre Roman, takes place. On this date, the Archaeology Institute of Cluj-Napoca is established, by separating it from the Institute of History and Archaeology; director: G. Ioan Glodariu. It publishes the magasines: ''Ephemeris Napocensis''; ''Ars Transilvanica.'' The material is based on the works: "Romania. Data and facts. 1989-2009," published by AGERPRES National News Agency (2010); "Romania's history in data" (Enciclopedica Publishing House, Bucharest, 2003), ''The 1989 Revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe. From Communism to Pluralism'' (Manchester University Press, 2013). AGERPRES (RO - Documentary - Roxana Mihordescu; photo archive editors: Elena Balan, Mihaela Tufega, editor: Irina Andreea Cristea; EN - authors: Cristina Zaharia, Rodica State, Adina Panaitescu, editor: Rodica State, Adina Panaitescu)

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