Zagreb Residents Plant Mini Garden in Centre of City, Receive Penalty

Lauren Simmonds

September the 2nd, 2020 – Croatia hasn’t earned the names ‘ab(p)surdistan’ and ‘uhjlebistan’ without a very good reason. There are numerous laws in this little country which simply boggle the mind, and one of the most ridiculous and petty stories yet is the one which involves some Zagreb residents being penalised for planting some seeds in the city.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of September, 2020, back at the end of July, Martina Zivkovic and Boris Novkovic, Zagreb residents who live in the very heart of the city, more precisely on Preradoviceva, were notified by the municipal police that they were to be penalised for having planted a mini garden on a green area in front of their building back during lockdown in April.

Shocked by the sheer, unbounded idiocy of the notice, both of the Zagreb residents refused to pay the 350 kuna that was being demanded within three days, and recently they received an official fine. They have to pay a fine of 700 kuna each and another 200 kuna for the costs of the insane so-called proceedings. These poor people now have to pay 900 kuna because they planted several small plants to make this central city street look a little more pleasant during the misery and anxiety of lockdown, writes Telegram.

The communal police punished them according to Article 95, paragraph 1, item 10 of the Decision on communal order, according to which it is forbidden to undertake unauthorised interventions such as planting plants on public green areas. The reasoning of the decision states that “when determining the amount of the fine, all circumstances that affect the amount of the fine were taken into account, and the imposed fine is considered appropriate to the gravity of the violation and its consequences.” 

Having a hard time wrapping your head around the level of patheticness of that? Yes. Us too. Neither of these Zagreb residents is giving up on the matter and are clearly not going to accept being bullied. Martina Zivkovic and Boris Novkovic both announced for Telegram that they would appeal these penalties to the Misdemeanor Court.

In the wake of a global pandemic and in the very heart of a city which was rocked by a devastating earthquake in March this year, one might think that the communal services would have more important things to attend to than punishing residents for planting a tiny little garden in an attempt to make life a little brighter during what was a horrendous time for every Zagreb resident. Sadly, virus or no virus, uhljebistan is alive and well.

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