The Romanian government calls thousands of Miners to do the dirty work (June 13, 1990) - History Key

The Romanian government calls thousands of Miners to do the dirty work (June 13, 1990)

This day in history is remembered by Romanians as one of the most tragic events after the fall of communism (December 1989). Is the day when in the University Square from Bucharest, the miners together with the police forces intervened for a protest started by civilians. The “government forces” hit in civilians and protesters and all those passed through and many of them were transported where they were interrogated.

A “democratic communism”

The new “democratic” power from Bucharest (Ion Iliescu along with the government) contributed to increase the negative image of Romania in the western civilization. More exactly, the ex-members of the Communist Party from Romania, those who “claimed” the revolution of December 1989, orchestrated the events for their own interest. They managed to mislead the international public opinion and manipulated a large part of Romanians. The revolution was broadcast by the only TV channel at that time, which also was in control of the communists.

Ion Iliescu at the Romanian Television during the Romanian Revolution of 1989
Ion Iliescu at the Romanian Television during the Romanian Revolution of 1989 © Source: Wikipedia

However it was quite clear that Iliescu and his team didn’t want to give up the communism after December 1989. Most part of the Romanian intellectuals claim that Iliescu accidentally revealed his plans in the first speech after the fall of communism. He claimed that the negative events during the communism were made exclusively by Nicolae Ceausescu and he characterized him as a “heartless and brainless” man. The strange part is that, Nicolae Ceausescu was captured, tried, sentenced to death and executed in only three days.

Ion Iliescu was an important member of the Communist Party. He even served as the first secretary of the Communist Youth Union, but later, Iliescu fell into Ceausescu’s disgrace. Some say that Ceausescu believed that Iliescu was a danger to his position. So, of that being said, the so called “hero” Ion Iliescu was elected the president of Romania in May 1990.

His successor, Ion Iliescu, and Nicolae Ceaușescu in 1976
His successor, Ion Iliescu, and Nicolae Ceaușescu in 1976 © Source: Wikipedia

Officially 7, Unofficially +150

Several thousand police, military and Romanian Intelligence Service agents intervened at the request of the government for the “release” of University Square from Bucharest. To justify their actions, the government involved in events used manipulation and revolutionary associations and miners from Jiu Valley.

Miners, 1990
The Mineriads (Romanian: Mineriadă) in Bucharest, 1990 © Image Source:

More than a thousand people were arrested, detained and beaten on the streets. Almost 800 people were badly injured and numerous deaths were reported. Even the total number is deaths is not known, the official version tells us there are 7 deaths. However, the family members of the victims claim that there were over 150 deaths. Beside the deaths, dozens of citizens were dragged into lawsuits for months, put into prison using statements by witnesses with psychiatric illnesses.

The Mineriads (Romanian: Mineriadă) in Bucharest, 1990
The Mineriads (Romanian: Mineriadă) in Bucharest, 1990 © Image Source:

During the event, in a few hours the chaos was installed over Bucharest. All the “intellectuals”, bearded people or unusual clothed people were beaten, arrested and interrogated. On the last day, at lunchtime, the miners have already brought the “peace” over Bucharest and they were being transported back to Jiu Valley. Before the ride, Ion Iliescu held a speech, thanking them for their actions which “saved” Romania.

Who is guilty?

Ion Iliescu
Ion Iliescu © Razvan Socol /Image Source: Wikipedia

The events were represented only from a point of view, by the only television channel at that time, which was also controlled by the government. Also the headquarters of the opposition parties have been vandalized.

On the external politics, the effects were catastrophic. Romania was excluded from any financial support from any organization and thousands of young people left the country. Although almost three decades have passed since the events, nobody held accountable for the events. Anyhow, the former president is accused of genocide. The file is still opened (reopened actually since 2015). Along with Ion Iliescu few other people are indicted for the violent repression of the University Square on June 13-15. Hopefully, justice will be made.

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