In the afternoon, hundreds of thousands of people form a human chain across the country, from north to south and from east to west, as a sign of hope and the determination to achieve democratic renewal. At exactly 12 noon, they link hands and step onto the roadways; in larger towns, traffic comes to a halt for 15 minutes, with many drivers leaving their cars to join the chain. Lit candles once again symbolize non-violence. Alexander Schalck-Golodkowski, Undersecretary and procurer of hard-currency, has fled. Government spokesman Meyer announces that the chief of the »Commercial Coordination« section has been stripped of his offices. Schalck-Golodkowski only yesterday took part in official negotiations in Bonn. His present location is unknown. Former General Secretary Erich Honecker, ex-Premier Willi Stoph, ex-union leader Harry Tisch, ex-Parliamentary President Horst Sindermann, and ex-Minister of State Security Erich Mielke, as well as other senior functionaries, are expelled from the SED for serious violations of its statute. Harry Tisch, ex-Economics Secretary Günter Mittag, and district chiefs Müller (Erfurt) and Albrecht (Suhl) are arrested.
This afternoon, responding to the overwhelming demand of the day before and to pressure from the newly-elected district secretaries, the SED Central Committee and Politburo resign. In place of the Central Committee, a working committee assumes the duties of Party leadership. At its first meeting, it agrees to appoint an inner-party investigative commission under the chairmanship of Gregor Gysi, who has the main Central Committee offices sealed off, bank accounts frozen, and the central database secured.
Revolts take place in a number of prisons. In East Berlin, inmates demand a general amnesty, better conditions, codetermination and higher pay for their work.
An Independent Women's Organization is formed at a meeting in East Berlin's Volksbühne theater. In its manifesto, it calls for clear reform of the political and economic systems. However, it opposes reunification, saying that this would represent »three steps backward« for women. Several »immediate demands« are directed at the government, including creation of a Council of Ministers' fund for the promotion of women, radio and television broadcast slots, and establishment of women's committees at all parliamentary levels.
In the evening, demonstrators in numerous cities march to the county headquarters of the Office of National Security and demand public supervision of its ctivities or its dissolution.
© 1999, Christoph Links Verlag, Berlin