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Osijek, Croatia

The Red Fićo

A tribute to an iconic act of defiance from the Croatian War of Independence involving a small car. 

An unusual monument pays tribute to an iconic act of defiance during the early stages of the Croatian War of Independence.

On June 27, 1991, T-55 tanks from the Yugoslav People’s Army rolled through Osijek, a city that would later suffer heavy damage from the war, in a forceful demonstration of power. But the army’s efforts failed to instill fear in all of the people.

A resident of the city decided to protest the incoming forces. He parked his red Fiat (also called a Fićo) on the street in front of the approaching tanks, blocking the road as an act of defiance. The man calmly exited the Fiat seconds before the tank leading the horde of military vehicles rammed into the car and dragged it along the street before crushing it.

The event was captured on film and was shown on the news. It was interpreted as a symbol of aggression from the Yugoslav Army and came to symbolize the resolution of the Croatian people.On the day of the event, 20 years later, a monument was unveiled to commemorate the act. A red Fiat can be seen climbing a T-55 tank, symbolizing resistance, and in the end, victory, in the war for independence.