Albanian opposition protesters on Thursday made further attempts to enter the parliament by force as they demand the government's resignation and an early election.
According to the Star Tribune, a few thousand center-right Democratic Party-led protesters used smoke bombs and projectiles and repeatedly clashed with police in an attempt to break the cordon protecting the parliament building where the weekly session was held.
The opposition blames the leftist Socialist Party government of Prime Minister Edi Rama of being corrupt and linked to organized crime, a matter that the government denies. Opposition lawmakers resigned en masse in February and, since then, opposition supporters have repeatedly tried to enter the parliament or government buildings and police have responded with tear gas and water cannons.
The opposition says it will hold protests whenever the parliament convenes in weekly sessions. A bigger rally is planned for mid-April.
During the rallies, opposition leaders and others made short speeches. Also, a group of demonstrators tried to disrupt the arrival of a visiting Dutch minister for a meeting with the interior minister.
Lawmakers, with about 20 newcomers from the opposition lists who have filled the vacant seats, are continuing to hold sessions.
The events development obviously frustrated the United States and the European Union who see Edi Rama as a close ally, in other words, the submissive executor of all their directives.
The ruling Socialist party of Edi Rama is accused of high corruption and of dealing with drug traffickers. The party is also accused of using undemocratic methods to remain in power. Recently the controversial reform of the judicial system was voted unanimously in the Parliament after tough resistance by the opposition parties concerned with the consequences for the field of justice.