Marijan Kos and his neighbours are seemingly sick of waiting. The City of Zagreb land dispute they and their families have been involved in has been dragging on for sixty years. Many have watched their neighbours die awaiting a resolution.
They are residents of the north Zagreb suburb of Gračani, just before Mount Medvednica and almost the northernmost point to where city trams travel. And they claim ownership of land over which the trams now pass. Nobody disputes their claim. But, following the compulsory confiscation of their property for passage of the tramway network, they have still not been reimbursed. So, this morning, Marijan Kos took matters into his own hands.
Carrying a prepared fence, another man and Mr Kos – who is president of the neighbourhood’s local committee – stood on either side of the tram line to block an approaching tram. They waited for only 30 seconds before backing down, then allowed the driver and his passengers to continue on their way. The Zagreb land dispute protest was symbolic. This time.
How Croatian portal Index carried the story of today’s Zagreb land protest on the tramlines © Index screenshot
“With today’s action we want to warn the City of Zagreb of the property-legal problem that has not been resolved since 1959,” Mr. Kos told reporters who had gathered to witness the Zagreb land dispute protest. “Since that year, we’ve had a final decision by which ZET (the tram network operator) is obliged to compensate the inhabitants of Gračani for the land confiscated for the construction of the tram line from Mihaljevac to Gracanski Dolj. That’s about 166 land registry entries (and) there are about the same number of owners – some have already died and had no heirs. We are talking about 68,926 square meters of land on both sides of the tram line.”
The tramline has run through the disputed land in Gracani for well over 50 years © Zagreb Facts
Mr. Kos invited the City to talk and uphold the standing agreement because, he says, it is in everyone’s interest to resolve the matter in the best possible way. According to Vecernji List, who had a reporter at the scene, Mr. Kos reminded everyone that this tramline – once the mountain cable car opens – will become one of the main means of transport for all Zagreb residents and tourists to reach the top of Mount Medvednica.
Signalling that the Zagreb land dispute may escalate over forthcoming days, Mr. Kos went on to say; “We have prepared a fence and in the next few days we plan to install it and close the passage of trams if the City of Zagreb does not invite us to a meeting to try to solve this problem that has been dragging on for 50 years.”