Revolts along the railway line

Several trains full of East German refugees from Prague had to pass through GDR territory on their way to West Germany, prompting unrest along the railway lines. Thousands of people saw an opportunity to finally leave the country, and attempted to board the trains. The SED's reaction was violent.

The SED government wanted to expel the East German refugees in Prague officially, and insisted they had to travel through GDR territory. In early October 1989, special trains made their way from Prague to West Germany. At the same time, the GDR closed its border to Czechoslovakia, blocking the route to the West via Prague.

People occupied platforms and stations in Dresden in reaction, and the situation escalated. The militant protest led to a state of emergency at Dresden's main station on 3 and 4 October. The police intervened, resulting in numerous arrests and injuries, which continued in the days that followed.

Blocked in on all sides by state security forces, the demonstrators spontaneously elected a number of representatives on 8 October to de-escalate the heated situation. This "20 Group" eventually managed to start up a dialogue with the SED mayor of Dresden.

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