In June 1990, the Romanian authorities violently suppressed the peaceful demonstration of University Square in Bucharest. For many, that gesture showed that the ruling National Salvation Front, the self-proclaimed vanguard of the Romanian Revolution of December 1989, was just the old Communist Party under a new label and that President Ion Iliescu had remained true to the Stalinist convictions he shared while serving as a communist high-ranking decision maker during the 1950s and the 1960s. Iliescu called on the miners of the Valea Jiului to come to Bucharest to defend the nascent democracy against the protesters. Various national and local government members helped organize the transportation of the miners to Bucharest. Once in the capital, the miners beat up defenseless students, young girls with short skirts and men with beard (conforming to the bourgeois stereotype), destroyed property, and ransacked the headquarters of opposition political parties. Iliescu publicly thanked them for their bravery. During the 1990s, the miners came or tried to come to Bucharest five other times.

During the following twenty years, the civil society unsuccessfully tried to find out the truth about those events. In 1998, it asked for access to file 75/P/1998, prepared by a small team of prosecutors and gathering evidence of state brutality against peaceful protesters. Curiously, At the time when that request was made, the country was ruled by the anticommunist opposition, the Democratic Convention. From 2000 to 2004, when the Social Democrats (the conservative wing of the Salvation Front) formed the government and Iliescu again served as President, all efforts to prosecute the case were stalled, for obvious reasons. But the situation continued even after their political rivals, the Democrats (later renamed the Democrat-Liberals) and the Liberals, won the general elections of 2004. After the European Court of Human Rights ordered the Romanian state to surrender the file to the victims of the June 1990 mineriada. But for over a year the Romanian prosecutors refused to comply with that court order. It was only after the leader of the Association 21 December 1989, Teodor Mihaes, went of hunger strike for a staggering 78 days that the entire copy of the file was released to the civil society.

On that basis, the Association 21 December 1989 compiled a 274-page report, which is now available to the general public on the website of the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile in Bucharest ( The report is a compelling reading. Apart from several soldiers, none of those responsible for the mineriade was made responsible for their crimes. It is high time for Iliescu to provide some honest answers berfore a court of law!

I do not have copyright on the photos, which I found on the internet.