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Unformatted text preview: ters in other East German cities were mainly college students and members of the intelligentsia; in Plauen they were factory The protesters in other East German cities were mainly college students and members of the intelligentsia; in Plauen they were factory
workers and ordinary citizens. Some of the demonstration’s most fervent supporters were long-haired, working-class fans of American heavy
metal music, known in Plauen as die Heavies, who rode their motorcycles through town distributing antigovernment pamphlets. As the
crowd grew, people began to chant Mikhail Gorbachev’s nickname — “Gorby! Gorby!” — cheering the Soviet leader’s policies of glasnost and
perestroika, demanding similar reforms in East Germany, defiantly yelling “Stasi go home!” One large banner bore the words of the German
poet Friedrich von Schiller. “We want freedom,” it said, “like the freedom enjoyed by our forefathers.”
Police officers and Stasi agents tried to break up the demonstration, arresting dozens of people, firing water cannons at the crowd, flying
helicopters low over the rooftops of Plauen...
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- Spring '08