The Fall of the Wall
 german flag

Tuesday, 24. October 1989


Despite many protests, SED chief Krenz this morning is elected by the People's Chamber to the positions of both Chairman of the Council of State and Chairman of the National Defense Council. The former holder of these offices, Erich Honecker, is first removed from these functions; however, due to ill health, he does not take part in the proceedings. For the first time in the parliament's forty-year history, the vote for a head of state is not unanimous; 26 deputies vote against and 26 abstain. Horst Sindermann, President of the People's Chamber, has obvious difficulty dealing with this new practice. He miscounts, turns to his neighbor for help, and then promises, »I will not falsify the result!«

A few hours later, 12,000 people demonstrate in East Berlin against Krenz's election. The demonstrators place candles in front of the Council of State building, which is surrounded and blocked off by a chain of uniformed members of the Ministry for State Security.

Krenz resembles former General Secretary Erich Honecker in many ways, including his career path. In 1971 he took over leaders hip of the Pioneer youth organization; three years later he became First Secretary of the Central Council of the FDJ youth association, a position he - like Honecker - held for nine years. In 1983 he became a member of the SED Politburo, and a year later was named one of Honecker's deputies in the office of Chairman of the Council of State. Since then, Krenz has been considered the »crown prince.«

Protests take place again in ten towns, most of them - except for Anklam and Demmin in the north - in the south: Dresden, Meissen, Nordhausen, Wernigerode, Aschersleben.