October 2019: 30th Anniversary of the Monday Demonstrations in Leibzig
October 2019: 30th Anniversary of the Monday Demonstrations in Leibzig, East Germany.
The Monday demonstrations in East Germany (1989 to 1991) (German: Montagsdemonstrationen) were a series of peaceful political protests against the government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) that took place every Monday evening.
By 9 October 1989, just after the 40th anniversary celebrations of the GDR, what had begun as a few hundred gatherers at St Nicholas' Church had swelled to more than 70,000 (out of the city's population of 500,000), all united in peaceful opposition to the regime. The most famous chant became "Wir sind das Volk!" ("We are the people!"), reminding their leaders that a democratic republic has to be ruled by the people, not by an undemocratic party claiming to represent them.
Because of the high number of protesters the GDR government shied away from using excessive force. On 16 October 1989, 120,000 turned up in Leibzig, with military units being held on stand-by in the vicinity. (Two days after the rally, Erich Honecker was forced to resign.) The next week, the number more than doubled to 320,000. This pressure led to the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, marking the imminent fall of the socialist GDR regime.