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WE are the People!

The opposition groups in Leipzig and their non-violent Monday demonstrations provided a template for protest actions across the country. More and more people joined them. On 9 October 1989, the fate of tens of thousands was decided in Leipzig.

Museum in der "Runden Ecke, Leipzig
source: Heinz Löster
Demonstration on the inner city ring road in Leipzig, 9 October 1989.

In the autumn of 1989 people began gathering outside Leipzig’s Church of St Nicolas after the Monday prayers for peace, calling for freedom of travel and opinion. Despite numerous arrests, there were more and more demonstrators every week. On the evening of 25 September the police blocked off the streets around the church. 5,000 demonstrators managed to make their way through the blockade to the city’s central ring road. The following Monday, their numbers swelled to 20,000.

On 9 October the atmosphere in Leipzig was extremely tense. Thousands of security forces were on duty. There were rumours circulating about a suspected violent suppression of the demonstration. Nevertheless, the people held firm to their protest. Tens of thousands demonstrated against the political situation in the GDR that evening, shouting, “We are the people!” The security forces did not intervene.
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