Supporters of opposition party tried to break the cordon protecting the parliament building as part of an ongoing protest against the government.

Supporters of the opposition party scuffle with police during an anti-government protest in front of the Parliament in Tirana, Albania on March 28, 2019.
Supporters of the opposition party scuffle with police during an anti-government protest in front of the Parliament in Tirana, Albania on March 28, 2019. (Reuters)

Albanian opposition protesters on Thursday made further attempts to enter the country's parliament by force as they demand the government's resignation and an early election.

Several thousand centre-right Democratic Party-led protesters used smoke bombs and flares and repeatedly clashed with police trying to break the cordon protecting the parliament building.

Police refrained from the use of tear gas as in previous rallies.

In a separate location, a group of demonstrators tried to disrupt the arrival of a visiting Dutch minister for a meeting with the interior minister.

A man carries an Albanian flag and an EU flag as supporters of the opposition party participate in an anti-government protest in front of the Parliament in Tirana, Albania on March 28, 2019
A man carries an Albanian flag and an EU flag as supporters of the opposition party participate in an anti-government protest in front of the Parliament in Tirana, Albania on March 28, 2019 (Reuters)

'Greatest mission'

The opposition Democrats leader Lulzim Basha said it is their "greatest mission" to "topple the government of crime," as he urged all Albanians to put pressure on the government.

The opposition accuses the left wing Socialist Party government of Prime Minister Edi Rama of being corrupt and linked to organised crime, which the government denies.

Since mid-February opposition supporters have repeatedly tried to enter the parliament and other government buildings, and police have responded with tear gas and water cannons.

Supporters of the opposition party scuffle with police during an anti-government protest in front of the Parliament in Tirana, Albania on March 28, 2019.
Supporters of the opposition party scuffle with police during an anti-government protest in front of the Parliament in Tirana, Albania on March 28, 2019. (Reuters)

Opposition lawmakers abandoned their parliamentary mandates in February.

Parliamentarians, with about 20 newcomers from the opposition lists who replaced the vacant seats, continued their session normally.

The opposition has not heeded calls from the United States and the European Union to hold talks and not use violence.

The Socialists say the opposition's protests are damaging Albania's progress toward membership of the European Union.

In June Albania is expecting a positive response from Brussels to launch negotiations for full membership of the EU.

The opposition says they will hold protests whenever the parliament convenes in weekly sessions. A bigger rally is planned for mid-April.

Source: AP