MARCH 19: FIRST BLOOD
On the morning of March 19, a two-member government commission arrived in Târgu Mureş – N.S. Dumitru, the former president of the National Salvation Front, and Attila Verestóy, who later became an RMDSZ senator and a secretary of the Senate. They were mandated to discuss our town’s problems with the Hungarian and Romanian students and teachers of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Târgu Mureș. They came to my office and I told them that Attila Jakabffy, the Chairman of the Mureş County Nationality Committee of the Temporary Council of National Unity, would accompany them. This he did until noon. They at once went to the university, where the Hungarian students suspended their sit-in strike, wishing to contribute in this way to bringing about a suitable atmosphere for negotiations. (I am not reporting here in any detail on the problems of the institute, as it would be worthwhile to publish a longer work on that topic.)
At 8:00 the Mureş county leadership of the Temporary Council of National Unity met and addressed the issue of the competence of First Vice-President General Ioan Scrieciu and the Vice-Presidents, engineer Valer Galea, Dr. Octavian Pleşa, and myself.
The full session of the Council for National Unity was called for 9:00. By nine, we had finished our own discussions and set out for the full meeting at the Town Hall. I was then told that I should be careful because a “deputation” of Romanian demonstrators was already in the meeting hall. This “spontaneously constituted” deputation was immediately received by General Scrieciu.
The deputation, as well as the 3,000 Romanian demonstrators surrounding the building, demanded the resignation of county chairman Károly Király (National Vice-President of the Temporary Council for National Unity), Attila Jakabffy (Chairman of the Nationality Committee), teacher András Tőkés (the Deputy County School Inspector) and myself. Among the people thus named, I alone was present in the building.
Characteristically, Ioan Judea also showed up in the meeting hall. Since he was not a member of the County Council, he being the president of the Temporary Council of National Unity of the town of Târgu Mureş, he had never before taken part in such a meeting.
I immediately gathered from his presence that this was an action organised by him on behalf of the Vatra Românească (to remove Király and Kincses). I believe that the way Judea had put it to the Vatra leadership was that he would deal with the task of removing Király and Kincses, but that it was not certain he would succeed in the case of Király because he was being protected by Bucharest. Unfortunately, Király had returned to Bucharest at 5:00 that morning, Attila Jakabffy was accompanying the visiting government education commission, and András Tőkés was not present either. So as I have said, I alone was left as the target within reach.
More and more Romanian demonstrators invaded the building. Nobody tried to prevent this, although First Vice-President General Ioan Scrieciu was present, as well as the military commander, General Constantin Cojocaru, and the commander of the police, Colonel Gheorghe Gambra.
A Hungarian member of the Council asked me whether Hungarian workers should not be called from the factories for my protection. Aware of the stand taken by the RMDSZ, and also on principle, I definitely opposed this, saying that this was exactly what the Vatra people were counting on. I felt that they would thereby be able to confirm their mendacious claim that the Hungarians were separatists and wanted to detach Transylvania. I declared that there should be no fight between Romanians and Hungarians in Târgu Mureş on my account.
From my office, I kept calling Bucharest, but in vain. Király had not yet arrived. Seeing that the building had been surrounded, and more and more people were arriving, I abandoned my office. The office was soon invaded by approximately 200 of the demonstrators who had entered the headquarters building. They found only my secretary, Judit Váradi (H), whom they hit twice in the back, saying: “If Kincses is not here, you will do.”
In the meantime General Scrieciu promoted himself to Mureş County President of the Provisional Council of National Unity. (He had attempted this earlier, but then I had rung President Iliescu, who had said that Király was the President and Scrieciu the First Vice-President.) Scrieciu continued his coup by announcing that the leadership of the country – that is, Bucharest – had taken affirmative notice of the demands of the demonstrators, i.e. our resignation. From my hideout, I began to negotiate with the demonstrators through the good offices of Zoltán Körmöczky (the husband of the victim of the pharmacy battle). They promised that if I resigned they would not hurt me. After this I was led to the balcony, of the headquarters in order to speak to the crowd which was abusing me and fulminating against me. Before I could utter a word, I heard that many demanded that I should be thrown down among them. But it is a fact, which I have always stressed, that they did not go so far as to manhandle me.
I started by saying that in early January the demonstrators had received me in a completely different manner. (Some shouted up that those were not Romanians.)
I continued that I had not wanted then to be elected vice-president (I was hooted down in response), and that I did not want to remain a vice-president. If the competent organ, the Temporary Council of National Unity, removed me, I would accept it. I added that democracy meant that the laws were observed, and consequently the Provisional Council of National Unity had to call on me to resign.
The crowd, angry at what I said, was calmed down by First Vice-President (or self-appointed President?) General Ioan Scrieciu. He announced that he would immediately call together the bureau of the Council for Unity, and my resignation would be solved within 20 minutes. At the meeting of the bureau, only Körmöczky and I were present out of the Hungarian members.
I asked to speak and said that I truly did not insist on the title of vice-president, but I refused to resign because I had not committed any political mistake that would warrant it. My resignation would mean the acknowledgement of a non-existing mistake, and therefore I asked that it should be on their initiative that I was removed.