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The Golaniad was a protest in Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 in the University Square, Bucharest
Bucharest is the capital municipality, cultural, industrial, and financial centre of Romania. It is the largest city in Romania, located in the southeast of the country, at , and lies on the banks of the Dâmbovița River....

. It was initiated by students and professors at the University of Bucharest
University of Bucharest
The University of Bucharest , in Romania, is a university founded in 1864 by decree of Prince Alexander John Cuza to convert the former Saint Sava Academy into the current University of Bucharest.-Presentation:...


The Golaniad started in April 1990, before the election of 20 May 1990, which was the first election after the Romanian Revolution of 1989
Romanian Revolution of 1989
The Romanian Revolution of 1989 was a series of riots and clashes in December 1989. These were part of the Revolutions of 1989 that occurred in several Warsaw Pact countries...

. Their main demand was that former members of the Communist Party
Communist party
A political party described as a Communist party includes those that advocate the application of the social principles of communism through a communist form of government...

 (4 million adults out of a total population of 22 million) should be banned from standing in elections.


Ion Iliescu and Frontul Salvării Naţionale (FSN) seized power during the 1989 revolution. The FSN organization was meant to act as a temporary government until free elections were to be held. However, on 23 January 1990, despite its earlier claims, it decided to become a party and to run in the elections it would organize. A part of the dissenters and anti-communists that joined the FSN during the revolution (including Doina Cornea
Doina Cornea
Doina Cornea is a Romanian human rights activist and French professor. She was notable as a dissident during the communist regime of Nicolae Ceauşescu.-Dissidence under communism:...

) left following this decision.

Many of the FSN personalities, including its president, Ion Iliescu
Ion Iliescu
Ion Iliescu served as President of Romania from 1990 until 1996, and from 2000 until 2004. From 1996 to 2000 and from 2004 until his retirement in 2008, Iliescu was a Senator for the Social Democratic Party , whose honorary president he remains....

, were ex-communists and as such the revolution was seen as being hijacked by the FSN.

The FSN, which was widely known from the revolution and associated with it, won 66.3% of the votes, while the next party – the Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania
Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania
The Democratic Union of Hungarians in Romania, is the main political organisation representing the ethnic Hungarians of Romania....

 – obtained only 7.2% of the votes (followed by PNL
National Liberal Party (Romania)
The National Liberal Party , abbreviated to PNL, is a centre-right liberal party in Romania. It is the third-largest party in the Romanian Parliament, with 53 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 22 in the Senate: behind the centre-right Democratic Liberal Party and the centre-left Social...

 1- 6.4%, MER- 2.6%).

The protests

On 22 April 1990, the PNŢCD and other parties organised a demonstration in Aviators' Square. After the peaceful demonstration, groups of people marched towards the Romanian Television (TVR) station, calling for its political independence. They continued their protest in the University Square and decided to sit in overnight. Two days later, they were still there, their numbers growing, on the evening of 25 April, their number reaching 30,000. Soon, the number of protesters reached 50,000 each evening. They stated that they will not leave the Square until Romania would be free of Communism.

President Ion Iliescu
Ion Iliescu
Ion Iliescu served as President of Romania from 1990 until 1996, and from 2000 until 2004. From 1996 to 2000 and from 2004 until his retirement in 2008, Iliescu was a Senator for the Social Democratic Party , whose honorary president he remains....

 refused to negotiate with the protesters and called them "golani" (meaning a hooligan, a scamp, a ruffian or a good-for-nothing — which later gave the protest its name) or legionnaires
Iron Guard
The Iron Guard is the name most commonly given to a far-right movement and political party in Romania in the period from 1927 into the early part of World War II. The Iron Guard was ultra-nationalist, fascist, anti-communist, and promoted the Orthodox Christian faith...

. The ending "-ad" ("-ada" in Romanian) was used ironically, since many of Ceauşescu
Nicolae Ceausescu
Nicolae Ceaușescu was a Romanian Communist politician. He was General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and as such was the country's second and last Communist leader...

's Communist manifestations had endings like this, for instance the annual national sporting event Daciad (in order to compare them with an epic, like the Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

). The protesters also composed their own hymn, "Imnul Golanilor":
Mai bine haimana, decât trădător
Mai bine huligan, decât dictator
Mai bine golan, decât activist
Mai bine mort decât comunist"
lyrics by Laura Botolan; music by Cristian Paţurcă
Cristian Paţurcă
Cristian Paţurcă was a Romanian composer.Paţurcă was born and died in Bucharest. He was the composer of a song called that inspired Romanians in their struggle against vestiges of the Communist government.-Awards:The president of Romania, Traian Băsescu, awarded Paţurcă the National Cross in...

The song can be translated to English as:
I'd rather be a tramp than a traitor,
I'd rather be a hooligan than a dictator,
I'd rather be a hoodlum than an activist,
I'd rather be dead than communist"

Many intellectual
An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence and critical or analytical reasoning in either a professional or a personal capacity.- Terminology and endeavours :"Intellectual" can denote four types of persons:...

s supported the protests, including writers like Octavian Paler
Octavian Paler
Octavian Paler was a Romanian writer, journalist, politician in Communist Romania, and civil society activist in post-1989 Romania.-Biography:Octavian Paler was born in Lisa, Braşov Country.He was educated at Spiru Haret High School in Bucharest...

, Ana Blandiana
Ana Blandiana
Ana Blandiana is a Romanian poet, essayist, and political figure. She took her name after Blandiana, near Vinţu de Jos, Alba County, her mother's home village.-Literary career:...

, Gabriel Liiceanu
Gabriel Liiceanu
Gabriel Liiceanu is a Romanian philosopher.He graduated from University of Bucharest's Faculty of Philosophy in 1965, and from Faculty of Classical Languages in 1973. He earned a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Bucharest in 1976....

, Stelian Tănase
Stelian Tanase
Stelian Tănase is a Romanian writer, historian, journalist, political analyst, and talk show host. Having briefly engaged in politics during the early 1990s, after the fall of the Communist regime, he has remained a leading figure of the Romanian civil society.A founding member of both the Group...

 or film director Lucian Pintilie
Lucian Pintilie
-Filmography:* Duminică la ora şase * Reconstituirea * Salonul numărul 6 * De ce trag clopotele, Mitică? - see also the "Portrayals and tributes" section at Mitică* Balanţa * O vară de neuitat * Prea târziu...

. Eugen Ionescu supported them by sending a telegram from France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 in which he wrote he was a "Golan Academician" (Hooligan Academician
Académie française
L'Académie française , also called the French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution,...


Their main three demands were:
  1. the eighth point of the Proclamation of Timişoara
    Proclamation of Timisoara
    The Proclamation of Timişoara was a thirteen-point written document, drafted on March 11, 1990 by the Timişoara participants in Romania's 1989 Revolution, and partly issued in reaction to the first Mineriad...

    : leading members of the Romanian Communist Party
    Romanian Communist Party
    The Romanian Communist Party was a communist political party in Romania. Successor to the Bolshevik wing of the Socialist Party of Romania, it gave ideological endorsement to communist revolution and the disestablishment of Greater Romania. The PCR was a minor and illegal grouping for much of the...

     and the Securitate
    The Securitate was the secret police agency of Communist Romania. Previously, the Romanian secret police was called Siguranţa Statului. Founded on August 30, 1948, with help from the Soviet NKVD, the Securitate was abolished in December 1989, shortly after President Nicolae Ceaușescu was...

     not to be allowed to be candidates in the elections
  2. access to the state-owned mass-media for all the candidates, not only for FSN candidates. A 1975 law of Ceauşescu (which was not yet repealed) allowed the president of Romania to directly control the Romanian Television and Radio.
  3. postponing of the elections, as the only party that had the resources for the campaign was FSN.

The protesters also disagreed with the official doctrine of the FSN that the Revolution was only "anti-Ceauşescu" and not "anti-Communist" (as Silviu Brucan
Silviu Brucan
Silviu Brucan was a Romanian communist politician. Though he disagreed with Nicolae Ceauşescu's policies, he never gave up his communist beliefs and did not oppose communist ideology...

 declared in an interview given to the British newspaper The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

). They also supported faster reforms, a true market economy and a western-type democracy (Ion Iliescu argued for socialism "Swedish-style" and an "original democracy", considering multi-party system
Multi-party system
A multi-party system is a system in which multiple political parties have the capacity to gain control of government separately or in coalition, e.g.The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the United Kingdom formed in 2010. The effective number of parties in a multi-party system is normally...

 as being antiquated.

After the elections the protests continued, the main goal being the removal of the newly elected government.

Violent ending

After 52 days of protests, on 13-15 June, a violent confrontation with government supporters and miners of Jiu Valley
Jiu Valley
The Jiu Valley is a region in southwestern Romania, in Hunedoara county, situated in a valley of the Jiu River between the Retezat Mountains and the Parâng Mountains...

ended the protests, with many of the protesters and bystanders beaten. Sources differ on the number who were killed, with some estimating up to one hundred people killed, and the official government figure published as seven killed.

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