At approximately thirty minutes past midnight, Premier Li Peng made a speech at the Great Hall of the People declaring that "the capital is in a critical situation ." Li Peng asserted that the student demonstration had "seriously violated the Law" and that "a handful of persons [was] using the hunger strikers as hostages to coerce and force the Party and the government to yield to their demands." In conclusion, Li called on "the whole Party, the whole army and the whole nation to make a concerted effort and act immediately at all posts so as to stop the turmoil and stabilise the situation." The martial law broadcast pleaded with citizens to cooperate with the army.
Following Li's speech was a speech made by Yang Shangkun, the PRC president and permanent vice-chairman of the Military Commission. The speech, supporting the Premier's actions, stated that to "safeguard public security in Beijing and restore normal order, a group of troops from the People's Liberation Army was being moved into the capital from outside the city."
After the speech Li Peng signed the documents declaring martial law in certain districts of the capital city. The details of martial law were then promulgated by the mayor of Beijing, Chen Xitong. The law, banning any form of protest, was declared effective at 10 am. The government ordered the shutdown of all satellite transmissions at 10 am.
Reports indicated that first violence erupted at 4am. Riot police attacked students who were lying on a road in an attempt to prevent army trucks carrying 600 soldiers from getting in through the southern part of the city. Ten students were reported to have serious wounds, while 20 were slightly injured.
Residents not only used their bodies to prevent the troops from entering the city, but they also tried to persuade the troops to join their cause. Many troops claimed that they were not informed by their leaders about the true situation in Beijing. One report stated that about 15 trucks, each carrying about two dozens soldiers, turned around and drove away from the Square after talking to student demonstrators fro several hours.
Towards the end of the day, approximately 100,000 people at Tiananmen Square were prepared to spend the night there in order to protect the student hunger strikers from military attack.
Protests also erupted in other major cities. About 300,000 protested in Xian. Other rallies were held in Shanghai, Guangdong, and at least six cities and even small villages. 40000 students and supporters held a rally in Hong Kong under stormy weather. Up to 10,000 marched in Macau.
In Washington, D.C., several thousands marched to the embassy. In Manhattan, about 300 gathered and delivered an open telegram saying that they ceased to recognise the Chinese government under Premier Li Peng.
Queen of Holland and the French minister of defense announced that they would delay their visit to China. Britain, France and Japan urged their citizens not to visit China.
For your reference: Full transcript of Li Peng's Speech