On March 8, 1917, demonstrators clamoring for bread took to the streets of the Russian capital of Petrograd. Supported by 90,000 men and women on strike, the protesters clashed with police, refusing to leave the streets. On March 10, the strike spread among Petrograd's workers, and irate mobs of workers destroyed police stations. Several factories elected deputies to the Petrograd Soviet ("council) of workers, following the model devised during the Revolution of 1905.
On March 11, the troops of the Petrograd army garrison were called out to quell the uprising. In some encounters, regiments opened fire, killing demonstrators, but the protesters kept to the streets, and the troops began to waver. That day, Nicholas again dissolved the Dumas. When the frustrated Russian army at Petrograd unexpectedly switched their support to the demonstrators, the imperial government was forced to resign and a provisional government was established. Three days later, Nicholas formally abdicated his throne, effectively ending nearly four centuries of czarist rule in Russia.