The center of East Berlin has been entirely filled with demonstrators since the early morning. Traffic has come to a complete standstill. Actors wearing green and yellow sashes bearing the slogan »No Violence« are on hand to keep order, and are accepted goodnaturedly by everyone. A security partnership with the People's Police has been established.
There are almost no uniforms in sight, not even in front of the People's Chamber and the Council of State building, which in the course of five hours will see hundreds of thousands file past, demanding freedom of press and assembly and radical reform. According to official estimates, more than half a million people take part in this, the largest protest demonstration in East German history. It concludes with a rally on Alexanderplatz that opens with actor Ulrich Mühe expressing what everyone is feeling: »It was just wonderful.« East Berlin has never witnessed so much shared determination and imaginative spontaneity, in such a radical yet calm atmosphere.
Author Christa Wolf points out that the revolutionary movement has also liberated speech: »What was so difficult to articulate before suddenly rolls freely from our tongues. We are amazed at what we have obviously been thinking for so long, and what we now call out to each other, >Democracy - now or never!<, by which we mean power to the people.« Even though the difficult phase of restructuring still lies ahead, all agree on this day that East Germany has changed more in the past four weeks than in all the previous four decades. November 4 becomes a milestone. The SED leadership can no longer ignore the demands of the masses; there is no going back to old methods of rule.
© 1999, Christoph Links Verlag, Berlin