Albanian police fire tear gas at protesters calling for snap elections

A supporter of the opposition party attends an anti-government protest in front of the Parliament in Tirana, Albania March 16, 2019 Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters Tirana, Albania Mar 16, 2019, 11.18 PM (IST)

Albanian police used tear gas on Saturday (March 16) to disperse protesters trying to break into parliament after marching twice around a nearby government building in a campaign for early elections.

The initially peaceful protest became violent when a small number in the several thousand-strong crowd began pushing and throwing stones at police protecting parliament. Some protesters and police suffered minor injuries.

The protest is the fifth since mid-February as the opposition seeks fresh elections after allegations of corruption and electoral fraud. Lawmakers of the main opposition Democratic Party renounced their parliamentary seats in February but a dozen substitute lawmakers took them up.

Democratic Party leader Lulzim Basha said Albania would not have peace until Prime Minister Edi Rama quits to allow free and fair elections.

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The initially peaceful protest became violent when a small number in the several thousand-strong crowd began pushing and throwing stones at police protecting parliament. Some protesters and police suffered minor injuries.