The killing around Tiananmen Square started soon after midnight. It was a different army from the unarmed one which had tried to enter the square on Friday night and failed. This one was told to kill, and the soldiers with their AK- 47 automatic rifles and the armoured personnel carriers with their machine guns opened fire indiscriminately, in the air, directly at the huge crowds, at small groups, everywhere.
Lined up in rows across the Avenue of Eternal Peace, they advanced slowly, shooting all the while, then they would halt and kneel and fire directly into the crowd. They did the same at the southern end of the square by Zhengyang Gate. When both ends of the square were cleared, they switched off the lights and encircled the thousands of students who had crowded together on the Revolutionary Heroes’ monument. Dawn broke and riot police moved in with truncheons. Everyone expected the army. But no one expected such ferocity, such armor, such numbers. There were more than 100,000 soldiers. It is unknown to this day how many demonstrators were killed in the square.