Early afternoon: “A beautiful demonstration”
All this happened around noon. At that time, besides the Hungarians demonstrating outside the town hall, the Romanian Vatra demonstrators also began to arrive outside the Grand Hotel. This leader of the county therefore addressed them too.
Scrieciu: “Those people there around the Grand Hotel should disperse immediately.”
A voice (in Romanian): “They are Vatra people.”
Scrieciu: “Whether they are Vatra or not, they should disperse.”
Unfortunately, neither this appeal nor later ones were heeded, and the number of Romanians kept growing. Some of them had not even been home since the troubles of the evening before, but had spent the night at the Grand Hotel where people from their villages worked at the reception. After the Vatra demonstrators started to appear, decent Romanians talked to them, seeking to avert further violence.
The crowd (in Romanian): “Down with Vatra.”
Traian Marcu (in Romanian): “I speak on behalf of the Democratic Youth Organisation (ODT). I call on every decent Romanian who condemns barbaric actions not to start out on the spiral of violence along which some people wish to proceed. I call on the Vatra – if that is the Vatra over there – and on every Romanian inclined to violence, to go home. There has been a beautiful demonstration here; no damage has been done to anything, you are not needed here. We, the young people who made the revolution – some even dying for it – we don’t need to be protected by your force. We ask you for the sake of your children, too.”
(Marcu was referring here to the Romanian fear that some Romanians inside the town hall had been taken hostage by the Hungarian demonstrators.)
Social Democrat leader Aurel Florian (in Romanian): “My brothers! Most of you know me from the time of the revolution. Gentlemen and brothers, we have been born to live on this earth. Think of it that if we set out with the idea of revenge, we wrong ourselves, the country and the whole of Europe. I speak to the Vatra, to every Romanian. You must know that my intention is to provide holy freedom to every Romanian and every Hungarian. You must understand that hatred and hostility have to disappear. God has created us to love one another as we do ourselves. It is wrong that we who until yesterday had lived together and respected each other are now full of hatred.”
The Romanian crowd: “Who started it?”
Florian: “My Romanian and Hungarian brothers! I only want to pass on the command of God. What you don’t want to happen to yourselves, don’t do unto to others...!”
Marcel Bolboacă: (in Romanian): “I speak on behalf of the Organisation of Young Volunteers (OTV). I should like to remind you of just how the three youth organisations occupying the building of the old Communist Youth Association understand each other. And there are both Romanians and Hungarians there, of course. Such an understanding should continue to live on among us. I would ask the Vatra Românească to come to us and see how the young people work together, and to take an example from us and transplant it into practice.
“I ask that the former Securitate officer standing next to the Avram Iancu statue over there, and who is inciting the Romanians assembled there against the Hungarians, I ask him to disappear from there along with those assembled with him. Let this peaceful demonstration here unfold naturally. The Romanians should take an example from this Hungarian demonstration.”
But the Romanian demonstrators did not leave. They shouted ever more aggressive slogans. The Hungarian crowd was still then much bigger, and it was to be feared that the Hungarians might lose their patience.
With this in mind, Sándor Zolcsák said: “We have called the attention of General Scrieciu to various dangers. We further demand that the military should be called out so that those who want to commit further crimes against peaceful Hungarian demonstrators should be stopped. We implore everybody that as long as this meeting lasts today, that as many Hungarian and honest Romanian brothers as possible should show up here. This is because we do not want the two peoples to commit a fateful mistake against each other. We want to live in this country with our rights. We ask our Romanian brothers to side with us because we do not want violence. We only demand our rights, the same rights that Romanians in the last century demanded for themselves with obvious justification.”
The Romanians in front of the hotel shouted such slogans as:
“We are at home – you are sub-tenants!”
“You never had a piece of land here!”
“We shall die, we shall fight, we shall not yield Transylvania!”
“Thieves, thieves! Down with them, down with them!”
“You still have one option – you can go home [to Hungary].”
The Hungarians shouted back:
“Now or never!”
“We are at home here! We demand our rights!”
“We shall take up the fight with you!”
It went on like this until 16:00. The Romanians gathering around the Avram Iancu statue did not go home but joined up with the Romanian demonstrators in front of the Grand Hotel. Imperceptibly, the Romanian numbers grew and grew, while the number of Hungarians varied as people went home after their hours of demonstrating outside the town hall. No blows were exchanged between the two opposing crowds. The violence was brought on by the attack of the armed Romanian peasants brought into the town from the localities of Reghin and Iernut.