The Revolution began on December 15, 1989 with the house arrest of Reformed Pastor Laszlo Tokes who had dared to speak out against the regime. The Hungarian Reformed Church represented a substantial minority of Romania based largely in Transylvania.
After his house arrest, the townspeople anticipated the “disappearance” of Tokes. Tokes had already escaped many attempts on his life. In fact, two ministers had already been murdered that year. To protect the Pastor, members of the congregation formed a chain across the entrance of his home in Timisoara. Some were taken away by the Secret Police, tortured and even murdered, but hundreds more replaced them at the church and his house.
These events in Timisoara started a national uprising. Within days the Ceausescu regime would be overthrown.
Tokes was arrested and taken away by security police sometime between 5 and 6 am on Sunday December 17th. and beaten. Many other ethnic minorities joined in the street protests. Many were killed by the Army or Secret Police. But the crowds grew and rallying cry of “Timisoara” spread to Bucharest.