The popular movements which took place in December 1989 in Romania took time to attract the researchers? attention. The ambiguity, the mystery which still persists about some aspects of the events, even their proximity discouraged the specialists from aprroaching this subject. The space left free by the historians was partially occupied by those who took part in the events, and who described especially what they had gone through in person. Thus, we can find and read books such as: 1989 Timisoara in December (1989. Timisoara în decembrie by Costel Balint, Timisoara, 1992) Incendiary chronicle (Reportaj cu sufletul la gura by Titus Suciu, Timisoara, 1990), The Timisoara revolution as it really was. The stories of the wounded, of the arrested, of the families and of the friends of those who died during the Revolution (Revolutia din Timisoara așa cum a fost. Marturii ale ranitilor, arestatilor, rudelor si prietenilor celor decedati în Revolutie by Marius Mioc, Timisoara, 1997). Another type of works whose publishing discouraged the specialists were those works whose authors try to discover the intervention of the foreign secret services, of the spies or of others foreign groups against ?The Revolution? and the ?Romanian people?: In December ?89 the KGB helped by a military group blew off Romania (În decembrie ?89 KGB a aruncat în aer Romania cu complicitatea unui grup de militari by Valentin Raiha, Bucharest, 1995), Romania 1989. Against the barbarian invasions, again. (Romania 1989. Din nou in calea navalirilor barbare by Angela Bacescu, Cluj, 1994), The mysteries of the Romanian Revolution (Misterele Revolutiei romane by Aurel Perva and Carol Roman).
As for the historical research, the specialists were, at first, interested in describing some events, and in publishing books such as: A chronicle of the Timisoara revolution (O cronica a Revolutiei din Timisoara by Florin Medelet, Mihai Ziman, Timisoara, 1990) or Timisoara. 15th - 21st December ?89 (Timisoara. 15 ? 21 decembrie ?89 by Miodrag Milin, Timisoara, 1990). Subsequently, they began to publish books which treat the problem of the Romanian movements at the end of 1989, with a view to the events as well as from the theoretical point of view. Publications such as: Nestor Rates - Romania: The Entangled Revolution (Romania: Revolutia incalcita, Pitesti, 1999 - english version 1991), Anneli Ute Gabanyi ? The Unfinished Revolution (Revolutia neterminata, București, 1999), Victor Neumann - Ideology and Phantasmagoria (Ideologie si fantasmagorie, Iasi, 2001, the chapter. Political changes in Romania in 1989) support our statement.
The issue of the arrested people during the events which took place before December 221 is very important, considering the following problems:
- it constitutes an aspect of the controversial Romanian movements which led to the decline of the communist system;
- it indicates the relationship between a group of people who overcame their fear and another group who wasn?t able to overcome this feeling and who decided to keep supporting the compromised system;
- it shows the lack of respect towards the human beings, towards their moral and their physical integrity, in contradiction with the fundamental human rights, recognised and accepted by any modern state;
- the illegality of the arrests and the treatment of the arrested people give us some ideas about the principles which lie at the very heart of the totalitarian communist system: the abuses, the broken laws;
- the clarification of the issues related to the arrests of people who had taken part in the manifestations would represent a positive step for the understanding of the movements which took place in December 1989 in Romania.
The setting where the suppression of opponents took place is well known. We won?t give many details about it, we have just recalled it because we want the reader to be familiar with it.
Because of the protest against the system manifested by Laszlo Tokes, a Reformed priest from Timisoara, which reached its climax with his apparition on the Hungarian National Television in the summer of 1989, Tokes had been subjected to a trial of religious nature, which was based on his refusal to accept his transfer from Timisoara to Mineu, in the county of Salaj2. Following the trial, a sentence was passed whose execution was established for December 153. On this date some reformed parishioners gathered in front of the priest?s house and church. Their number grew, reaching ?around 200 people?4 in the afternoon. The following day, more and more people stopped in Piata Maria (Maria Square), where the parochial house was, to see what was happening, and so the number of the opponents became larger and larger. Subsequently, the opponents would split, some of them would stay there, in front of the house, while the others would walk on Timisoara?s streets in order to incite people to revolt.
In the afternoon of December 16, people would, for the first time, shout slogans against Ceausescu and the communist system. In the evening of this same day, the first arrests happened. A lot of suspicious civilians had already walked in Timisoara since December 155. The number of the arrests would grow in the following days.
We point out now the main parts of the city where arrests took place:
- near the headquarters of the late Central Committee of the Romanian Communist Party (PCR), now the headquarters of the prefecture, where arrests took place in the evening of December 16 and 176;
- Piaţa Libertăţii (The Liberty Square), there is the headquarters of the garrison; the soldiers from the garrison were those who arrested people between 1.00 - 11.00 a.m. and in the afternoon of December 177 ;
- The Central Park - The Cathedral zone, arrests took place in the afternoon and in the evening of December 17 and 18 (after 15.00 o?clock); some arrests took place in the morning of December 17 and 18, before 11.00 a.m.8;
- near the Continental Hotel, arrests took place in the evening of December 17 (between 2.00 - 5.00 a.m.) in the afternoon of the same day (after 13.30 p.m.)9;
- The Opera Square, arrests took place in the evening December 16, 17 (all day long) and in the afternoon of the December 1810;
- The Square Maria, arrests took place in the evening of December 16, the night of December 16-17, the night of December 17-1811 , and, as far as we know, the last arrest was Soos Zoltan Matei?s arrest from December 18, at 3.00 p.m.12;
- The Market 700, most of the arrests took place on the morning of December 17, between 0.00 - 5.00 a.m., a new series began in the evening of December 17 and ended on the morning of December 1813 ; Szekely Mihai Iosif?s case is very special because he had been arrested in this market in December 19 at 16.30 o?clock14 ;
- Piata Craiului Street, near the Cina Restaurant, arrests took place maily in the morning and in the evening of December 17; some arrests took place in the evening of December 1815;
- Dacia - Circumvalatiunii zone, arrests took place in the evening of the December 16 and in the morning of December 1716;
- near the present Louis Turcanu Hospital, between 1.00 - 4.00 a.m. on the morning of December 1717;
- near the Clinicile Noi Hospital, on the morning of December 17, between 3.30 - 6.00 a.m.18;
- in the Iosefin Market; some arrests took place on December 17 around noon, another series followed during the night of December 17-1819 , the last arrest, which took place on December 19 at 15.30, was this of Zabara Grigorie20.
The result of the people? statements is that the authors of the arrests can be divided in four categories:
- People in civilian clothes; some statements define them as being ?people from the Securitate? or ?policemen (?Militia? or ?militieni? in Romanian);
- Middle ranking or senior executives from MApN (Ministry of Defence);
- Executives from MI (Ministry of the Interior), in their specific clothes, sometimes even wearing shields;
- In few cases, patriotic garrisons which had never operated alone.
In a great number of cases people in civilian clothes operated on various streets of the city with cars (Dacia or ARO), which they stopped near isolated demonstrators or near small groups of people whom they took, by force, to the Local Inspectorate of the Police or to the Penitentiary. The ?corrective? methods they used consisted of: smacks with stakes, with truncheon, people were knocked on their heads. Antochi Ioan, a worker who was arrested near the Cardinal Points, on December 17, at 3.00 - 4.00 a.m21 stated: ?I was arrested by policemen in civilian near the Cardinal Points, they hit me, they broke my glasses?22 .