On 9 October 1989, the police and army units were given permission to use force against those assembled, but this did not deter the church service and march from taking place, which gathered 70,000 people. Many of those people started to cross into East Berlin, without a shot being fired.
The operation began with an assault of strategic installations, such as the civilian Punta Paitilla Airport in Panama City and a PDF garrison and airfield at Rio Hato, where Noriega also maintained a residence. U.S. Navy SEALs destroyed Noriega's private jet and a Panamanian gunboat. A Panamanian ambush killed four SEALs and wounded nine.
On October 28, 1989, the Ukrainian Supreme Soviet decreed that effective January 1, 1990, Ukrainian would be the official language of Ukraine, while Russian would be used for communication between ethnic groups.