Romanians honour victims of 1989 revolution

Bucharest, Romanians on Sunday honoured some 1,200 people who died in the December 1989 revolution which put an end to 40 years of communist rule.

On December 25, 1989 dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was executed after protests that kicked off on December 16 snowballed into a full-blown uprising.

The Ceausescu regime, which had maintained a firm grip on Romanian society and was widely considered one of the most paranoid systems of the Soviet bloc, responded to the protest by shooting scores of people.

On Sunday a commemoration event took place at the Memorial of Rebirth in Bucharest to honour the victims of the revolution.

The monument is in Revolution Square, the same place from which Ceausescu fled from Bucharest by helicopter on December 22, 1989.

Relatives, citizens and politicians have participated this weekend in numerous acts of this kind in places like the Heroe’s Cemetery, the headquarters of Romanian television and other points where people were killed.

The Romanian Orthodox Church has officiated masses to honour those killed during the revolution in temples throughout Romania, a country of an overwhelming Orthodox majority.

The Romanian revolution began on December 16 in the city of Timisoara (west) when a demonstration to support a dissident priest morphed into a wider protest against the dictatorship.

Although dozens died in the repression that followed protests spread to other cities and arrived in Bucharest on December 21.

The following day, during Ceausescu’s annual speech, the crowd erupted chanting anti-government slogans amid the visible shock of the dictator who fled that same afternoon by helicopter.

Ceausescu and his wife were stopped by a faction of the army that had joined the uprising, and the couple was executed on Christmas Day after a summary trial.

Although Ceausescu lost power on December 22, shootings continued on the streets continued until his execution.

Anonymous snipers continued firing at members of the military and civilians defending strategic points controlled by the new authority.

According to the most accepted thesis, snipers were special forces loyal to Ceausescu who resisted regime change.

Former President Ion Iliescu and two other people from the faction that took office on 22 December are accused of “crimes against humanity” for having fostered a supposed climate of “chaos” and “terrorist psychosis” that contributed to the death of 800 people between 22 and 25 December.

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