On December 15, 1989, the first revolutionary manifestations erupted in Timișoara, taking the form of a small local revolt against the court decision to relocate Hungarian Reformed pastor Laszlo Tokes to another locality. The protests continued on the nights of December 16 and 17, gradually acquiring an anti-communist character. Slogans such as “Freedom!”, “Down with Ceaușescu!”, “Democracy!” were heard. Communist law enforcement attempted to suppress the crowds through violence and massive arrests. Nicolae Ceaușescu quickly decided to use weapons against the revolutionaries and isolate the city of Timișoara. This marked the beginning of the Romanian Revolution.

On December 21, 1989, Nicolae Ceaușescu called for a massive rally in Bucharest, where he addressed the workers about the events in Timișoara. The event was broadcast on radio and television. Boos and whistles erupted from the crowd, and the gathered people broke through the police lines. Ceaușescu’s attempts, alongside his wife, to calm the revolutionaries from the balcony of the Central Committee of the Communist Party were unsuccessful. Anti-communist demonstrations began, continuing throughout the day and night. Hundreds of people regrouped at the Dalles Hall, in University Square, among other places. The Secret Police and the Militia made mass arrests and dispersed the crowds with tanks.

On the morning of December 22, following the last meeting of the Executive Committee of the Communist Party, a state of emergency was imposed nationwide through a decree signed by Nicolae Ceaușescu. The dictator prohibited groups of more than 5 people from gathering on the streets. Despite the prohibitions, the revolutionaries became even more determined. They managed to enter the Communist Party’s headquarters, prompting the dictatorial couple to escape by helicopter from the roof of the building. Upon hearing this news, people in the streets celebrated the fall of the communist regime, and the wave of joy spread throughout the country.

Also on this day, the National Salvation Front was formed, with Ion Iliescu publicly reading the “Statement to the Nation of the NSF Council.” The main objective was to establish a democratic governance system in Romania. The army sided with the demonstrators, but confrontations continued over the next few days. On December 25, the Ceaușescu couple was executed. Following the Revolution, with the sacrifice of over 1000 lives, Romanians achieved the freedom they had dreamed of for decades.

To our heroes and martyrs: Your sacrifice was not in vain!

If you want to learn more about the 1989 Revolution, the Museum “Undeva in Comunism” located at 6 Covaci Street (Old Town in Bucharest), awaits you with a special exhibition entirely dedicated to this event that decisively marked Romania’s history.