In the afternoon, the Martial Law Enforcement Headquarters and the Beijing Municipal government issued three public announcement, explaining that the PLA had received orders to enforce martial law, but that "a handful of people" had prevented them from doing so. The notice went on to say that "if anybody does not listen to the advice, but acts willfully to defy the law, the troops enforcing the martial law, public security forces and the armed police troops have the rights to use all means to forcefully dispose of them."
In a separate announcement, the Martial Law Enforcement Headquarters and the Beijing Municipal government declared the following:
(1) The PLA's coming to Beijing to enforce martial law as ordered is aimed at ending the turmoil, maintaining stability and restoring normal order in the capital. The purpose is entirely to protect the interests of the masses of the people. In no way is it aimed at the broad masses and students. The broad masses of city residents is understanding this more and more clearly now. Public figures of all circles and the masses are requested to give positive support to the PLA units in carrying out their task of enforcing the martial law.
(2) In this serious political struggle concerning the future and destiny of our state and nation, the PLA units must carry out their martial law task in accordance with the plan. No one is allowed to obstruct this. If the martial law units meet with obstruction, they will take various defensive measures and use every means to get rid of the obstruction.
(3) All people in the municipality should take overall interests into account, stand fast at their respective posts and comply with the requirements of martial law. They should neither believe rumours nor surround some places to look on as spectators. They should maintain public security and social order in the capital on their own initiative.
(4) All crimes such as beating, smashing, looting, burning, and disrupting public security, as well as thus should be subjected to hard blow and harsh punishments.
At the same time, the municipal government advised Beijing residents to stay home and not to go to Tiananmen Square.
10.00 pm Troops assembled on the outskirts of Beijing are given orders to immediately proceed to Tiananmen and to ‘clear’ the Square by 6.00 am the following morning. These troops from the 27th Army are tough and well-disciplined. They are specially prepared for this task as they are isolated from any news report of the protest for 10 days prior to carrying out their orders.
10.30 pm The first known shootings of civilians occur on Changan Boulevard near Muxidi, where military tanks meet a wall of non-violent but unyielding citizens. The soldiers first shoot in the air. When the mass does not disperse, they start to shoot at individuals.
10.30 pm till 2.30 am Most of the killings take place at this time. Enraged citizens and students try to fight back in self defense with whatever materials at hand, but they are helpless against the force of the military and succeed only to disable a couple of vehicles. The government later calls the protesters’s attempt of self defense against the brutalities of the army an act of ‘hooliganism’ and unreasoned ‘rioting’.