December 24, 1989 Christmas Eve
Warfare continued at the main train station, Palace Square and around University Square. But people could be seen carrying Christmas trees and giving gifts. In the late eighties the Christmas holiday had been supplanted by a celebration of Ceausescu’s birthday.
The army was making gains against the heavily armed Securitate secret police. The shooting should have stopped on December 22nd at 12:09 pm when Ceausescu fled Bucharest. It was unclear on whose behalf the Securitate were still killing for. That is still an unanswered question and most of those murderers have never been brought to justice. The secret police, with some of those same people, is today called the SRI. 162 people died in protests that led to the overthrow of Ceausescu, but 942 died in the days after that.
Water and electricity was restored and shops began to reopen by the 26th, and foreign aid was reaching the citizens.
President Iliescu formed the Extraordinary Military Tribunal on the 24th that would try the Ceausescu’s on Christmas Day.
No one was more surprised by the events of the Revolution more than those who had started resistance movements or had protested in Romania soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall and were tortured and facing execution. Without ever knowing about the Revolution while in jail, those people were released starting from December 22, 1989. It must have been the best Christmas surprise ever.