- Title: 30 years on - Romanians commemorate victims and recall 1989 demonstrations
- Date: 16th December 2019
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (English) CULTURE MINISTER OF TIMISOARA REGION, SORIN VLAD PREDESCU, SAYING: "Before the revolution, I intended to go outside, to fly somewhere. Never after. From a personal point of view, it was a very important change, not just for my life, but for the people that I know. Thirty years, it's a lot of years and, yes, our people are disappointed in the people who didn't understand what happened with their feelings and lives, but generally, now we live in a really better place than before."
- Embargoed: 30th December 2019 17:15
- Keywords: Nicolae Ceausescu Romanian revolution Timisoara uprising fall of Communism
- Location: TIMISOARA, ROMANIA
- City: TIMISOARA, ROMANIA
- Country: Romania
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00BBA86WXL
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Thirty years after the Romanian Revolution of 1989, a commemoration event took place on Monday (December 16) in Timisoara with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis laying a wreath at the memorial to victims of the first uprising which led to overthrowing of Romania's communist dictatorship.
Yet there was little sign in the western Romanian city of the euphoria that drove the revolution of December 1989, with the anniversary event only sparsely attended.
Christine Cizmas, who runs the Museum of Communist Consumer in Timisoara, recalled the past as she showed the old TV sets, radios and toys she used to play with in her childhood, all gathered in the replica of an apartment in communist times.
"There were some difficult moments when there was shooting all around us. My mother used to protect me a lot. We ran home," Cizmas said, adding that the most vivid memory she has was a square full of people embracing each other.
"A moment of real liberation, joy."
In 1989, revolution was sparked after Timisoara's ethnic Hungarian priest Laszlo Tokes, who was accused of dissident activity, was threatened with deportation.
As the number of people swelled into mass protests, government security forces opened fire on demonstrators, some having sought refuge in the city's cathedral.
Nearly 100 Timisoara citizens were killed and hundreds more wounded as the city stood alone to defy Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu's forces for five desperate days before the revolt blazed a trail to Bucharest and the rest of the country.
The Timisoara revolt led to street battles in Bucharest in which up to 10,000 people were reported to have been killed. Ceausescu fled the city but was recaptured and brought to trial and execution on December 25.
(Production: Fedja Grulovic, Boki Babic, Malgorzata Wojtunik)
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