15 March – Day of the Establishment of the National Protection in the Republic of Croatia

According to the Amendments to the Law on Holidays, Memorial Days and Non-Working Days in the Republic of Croatia of November 2011, the 15 March is marked as the memorial day of the Establishment of National Protection in the Republic of Croatia.

On that date in 1991, at the 1st session of the Inter-Party Council of the Republic of Croatia, a conclusion on the establishment of the National Protection was adopted. One week later, at the 2nd session of the Inter-Party Council chaired by President Franjo Tuđman, the Inter-Party Council of National Protection was constituted with the main task of defending the Republic of Croatia.

In a proclamation of 5 April 1991, the President of the Republic called on all everyone who wished to join the “volunteer units of the National Protection and stand in defence of the homeland, the Republic of Croatia - which is in danger”.

The National Protection was soon established in the entire territory of Croatia as a single, organised form of resistance. It comprised its own monitoring and information service, organised an independent uninterrupted radio connection and trained its units to perform their duty as efficiently as possible. Its major functions included the blockade of roads, bridges and railways, guarding and protecting all vital facilities and institutions and seizing the barracks of the Yugoslav People’s Army. While performing the latter task, the National Protection units occupied more than forty barracks and warehouses.

The National Protection units independently performed important defence tasks with own forces, and its members, more than 260,000 volunteers, demonstrated a high degree of self-initiative and autonomy in their actions.

With entering into force of the Decision on the Organization of the Home Guard in December 1991, it was stipulated that "conscripts who are members of the National Protection detachment, who are not assigned for combat operations shall be transferred to Home Guard units", while all others conscripts remained in the National Protection which was not abolished when the Home Guard was formed.