To protest the exclusion of political issues from the Saxon Church Congress of July 6-9, 1989, grassroots groups in Leipzig organized an alternative event, which they called “Statt Kirchentag” [“Instead of the Church Congress”]. The event took place in St. Lucas Church and drew roughly 2,500 participants. After the final church service of the official Church Congress, a demonstration was held for democracy and against electoral fraud; participants marched into downtown Leipzig despite being hindered by the Stasi. This photograph shows a group of demonstrators around a banner upon which the word “Democracy” is emblazoned in German and Chinese. This was a reference to the bloody suppression of student protests in Beijing in June 1989 – a move upon which the GDR state leadership had openly congratulated the Chinese government. Additionally, to symbolize global solidarity, demonstrators are holding pieces of string knotted together.

Protests during the Church Congress in Leipzig (July 9, 1989)


Source: © Archiv Bürgerbewegung Leipzig e.V.