Wednesday, June 3, 2009

This Day in 1989, June 3, The Even of Massacre

Tension escalated during the day of June 3, 1989. Large crowds of military troops, wearing white shirts but army pants, were discovered everywhere around Tiananmen Square. They were surrounded by students and residents. Unarmed, the soldiers either sat silently on sidewalks or retreated into large government buildings.

Near Xinhuamen, students seized another nondescript van and found weapons including machine guns and automatic assault rifles inside. They displayed the guns on the roof for news cameras. At high noon, just as a huge crowd assembled there, barrages of tear gas canisters rained down the scene. Soldiers burst out of Xinhuamen to disperse the crowd and recover the vehicle.

By the nightfall, thousands of students and residents still gathered at Tiananmen Square, demanding to see the hunger striking folk star Hou Dejian. Zhang Boli was preparing for the openning of a University of Democracy at the foot of the Goddess of Democracy. Most students, however, gathered closely at the base of the Monument to People's Heroes, where they would spend an unforgettable night.

Gunshots were first heard around 10pm.

For the rest of night, read an excerpt from my book, Standoff at Tiananmen.

Days of 1989

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