The changes of the Urban Plan of the City of Zagreb from 2007 included changes that allowed for redevelopment of popular historic public square Cvjetni trg (Flower market Square). HOTO Group, owned by developer and real-estate tycoon Tomislav Horvatinčić, signed the contract with the city authority which allowed them construct a business center and underground garage. The construction plan also included construction of access ramps to underground private garage which would destroy the Varšavska Street pedestrian zone which provoked massive reaction of civil society groups among others Zelena Akcija (Green Action- Friends of the Earth Croatia) and Right to a City initiative (Pravo na grad) complaining on economic exploitation and commercialization of public space and exclusion of citizens from decision making processes. These organisations also formed a group of experts in urban planning and organised protests obstructing the construction work in the street, signing petition (around 55,000 people), as well as many small illegal actions and artistic performances. The first big protest with around 5,000 citizens was organised in 2010 during the voting procedure in which the city assembly accepted the plan. The protest resulted in arrests of around 140 protesters. The protests continued for 33 consecutive days, including the street blockade and presence of large number of policemen. The protesters called on the city Mayor and the Minister of Environmental Protection, Physical Planning and Construction to resign, as well as have been criticizing the work of the State Attorney (DORH) which previously issued a statement on possible legal irregularities and corruption in the project, but has been holding off the process.
Green Action has subject of a series of political pressures, such as fees imposed by Zagreb City Council in total around EUR 70 000 base on the supposed illegal using of the storage area of the city owned building where the NGO offices were located, as well as by cutting off the finances for some of the long-time projects. The city mayor accused the NGOs of ‘preventing development’. The center and the access ramp in Varšavska were finally built in 2011, when the last protest occurred. More recently in March 2013, the City Council of Zagreb deleted from the General Urban Plan the provisions that allowed for the further destruction of the Cvjetni square and the Varšavska Street, as well as several other harmful urban development plans. The local civil societies and citizens were satisfied with this decision as the local authority finally responded to public pressure and demands, while Varšavska Street became a symbol of citizens’ revolt.