THE CHRONICLE OF THE POGROM OF MARCH 20
Early morning: ‘Now or never’
I had joined the events in Târgu Mureş at 16:00 and will therefore document what happened earlier by reference to video and sound recordings. The news of the barbaric treatment of András Sütő and of the siege of the RMDSZ headquarters the night before spread through the town like wildfire. Hungarian workers downed tools as one man, and set out for the main square, for the town hall building and the headquarters of the County Provisional Council of National Unity. A Hungarian demonstration began there, which was to continue during the whole day.
The county leadership of the RMDSZ would have liked to get these Hungarian crowds back into the factories and off the streets so that the Romanian provocation that could be anticipated wouldn’t lead to the violent clashes which we knew the Romanians sought. This was how our strike demand was born. It called on the Hungarians of Târgu Mureş to conduct sit-in strikes at their workplaces or to stay at home until our four-point agenda had been fulfilled.
This agenda was read out in the Hungarian broadcast of Târgu Mureş Radio at 9:30 by István Káli Király, the vice-chairman of the Mureş County branch of the RMDSZ.
The text read:
First: The immediate and undistorted presentation of our nationalities position on Romanian Television with the participation of our own experts. We hold the Romanian Television and Radio, and also the local daily, Cuvîntul Liber, responsible for the grave situation which has come about today because they have regularly misinformed the public – both nationwide and within this county.
Second: Those members of the Council of National Unity who are responsible for organising these criminal events – beginning with the forced resignation of Előd Kincses – should resign from their civil and public offices. Those people being by name: Engineer Colonel Ioan Judea, Major Vasile Ţîra, Major-General of the Reserve Ioan Scrieciu.
Third: For their passive and collaborative behaviour, we hold the police responsible for the moral and material damage caused, as well as for the grave bodily injuries suffered by innocent Hungarians.
Fourth: We demand the banning of the Vatra Românească Association which organised these manifestations and the initiation of criminal proceedings against those who instigated the pogrom of Târgu Mureş committed by a mob armed with axes, bludgeons and pitchforks.
We call on the population to refrain from individual initiatives, and to keep away from every violent protest and provocation.
Mureş County Executive of the RMDSZ.
After the call had been broadcast, the crowd did not move but began to demand that President Iliescu should immediately come to Târgu Mureş. Several prominent personalities of Târgu Mureş then began to address the crowd.
“I am the painter Sándor Zolcsák (H). I pray to you, my dear brothers and sisters, to be disciplined. Let’s not get separated. Let’s not yield to provocation. My dear friends, the policy declaration of President Ion Iliescu asserts that all our rights are ensured – and that they will actually be ensured in practice, too. We shall stay here until this promise is fulfilled.”
The crowd: “Now or never. We are brothers. Justice!”
György Szabó (H): “We have described our nationality programme, our rights which are due to us. All these are universal human rights and European rights without which Romania cannot enter the European House. We shall insist on our nationality rights, on our rights equal to those of Romanians, even at the cost of our lives.”
The crowd: “We are not murderers.”
Szabó: “We are not murderers, and our Romanian friends will also draw a line between themselves and those who are murderers. I trust that I shall not be disappointed by them. I ask you again that we should present to the world a European bearing, without violence, because any violence will be considered a provocation. We should show them that we are an educated, cultured, humanistic nation... We only want human rights.”
The crowd: “We want our rights.”
Szabó: “We want to have our schools, our University of Medicine and Pharmacy – this is our fundamental right, not a privilege.”
The crowd: “Now or never, Iliescu, Király.”
Szabó: “Our first condition is that Ion Iliescu, Károly Király, and representatives of the political parties should immediately come to Târgu Mureş. We are expecting them.”
The crowd: “We shall wait for them.”
Noémi Ábrám (H): “I would like to make the crowd aware of just one thing, make both the Romanians and the Hungarians aware... The three youth organisations formed in Târgu Mureş – all three that are registered, the OTV (R), the ODT (R) and the MADISZ (H) – have stuck together from the beginning. I would wish this unity to remain and to be an example for the entire town, for the entire country. This is what we should all achieve. Let us stick together and build our future as reasonable and civilised people. Thank you.”