The Army’s Loyalty Shifts

December 19, 1989

This day brought more terror and confusion. There was shooting all over the city. The prime minister promised to release the political prisoners, but ignored the demand to remove Ceausescu. On the following day in Bucharest, Ceausescu gave a televised speech promising to defeat the “terrorists and hooligans” in Timisoara. He talked in terms of “interference of foreign forces in Romania’s internal affairs.” Every factory and school was being guarded 24/7.

Nevertheless a civic committee was formed by the demonstrators, but was soon fractured by infighting. They were also under the impression that the uprising was nearly over despite all of the bloodshed. In fact one army regiment had joined with the protesters who gave them flowers. The political prisoners had been released and thousands of workers organized by factory committees streamed into the city for four hours. Some others chanted, “The army is with us!” Also on this day the United States condemned the Romanian government for its use of “brutal force”, and some hoped the U.S. would involve themselves. This night graffiti on the Communist Party headquarters read, “The People Have Won” .

After two days of failed attempts by the militia, the army and the intelligence service to repress the revolt, the protesters still occupied Timisoara’s downtown Opera Square.

A week of increased terror was about to begin. More people would soon die than had in all of this violence.

Published by Eric Sorlien

I am 51 and live in Philadelphia USA. I traveled to Romania about 30 years ago and I remember it still.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: