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Anti-government protesters claim victory after occupying area around parliament

  • Pakistan-1.jpg

    Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan waves to supporters as he leads a march toward parliament in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Tens of thousands of protesters armed with wire cutters and backed by cranes broke through barriers protecting Pakistan's parliament and other government buildings Tuesday night, demanding the country's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resign. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed) (The Associated Press)

  • Pakistan-2.jpg

    Thousands of supporters of Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan march toward parliament in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Tens of thousands of protesters armed with wire cutters and backed by cranes broke through barriers protecting Pakistan's parliament and other government buildings Tuesday night, demanding the country's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resign. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed) (The Associated Press)

  • Pakistan-3.jpg

    Supporters of Pakistani cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri prepare to remove shipping containers place by authorities to block their access as they try to reach the Parliament in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters armed with wire cutters and backed by cranes marched on Pakistan's parliament Tuesday, removing barriers blocking them from soldiers guarding the seat of the country's government. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash) (The Associated Press)

  • Pakistan-4.jpg

    Pakistani religious cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri waves to his supporters during a massive rally in front of The Parliament building in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014. Tens of thousands of protesters armed with wire cutters and backed by cranes broke through barriers protecting Pakistan's parliament and other government buildings Tuesday night, demanding the country's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resign. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed) (The Associated Press)

  • f1d800088b5c42205d0f6a7067006a1a.jpg

    Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan motivates his supporters to march to Parliament House in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters armed with wire cutters and backed by cranes marched on Pakistan's parliament Tuesday, removing barriers blocking them from soldiers guarding the seat of the country's government. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash) (The Associated Press)

Jubilant anti-government demonstrators in Pakistan are claiming victory after tearing down barricades and occupying a key road outside Parliament, where they are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

A peaceful and celebratory atmosphere prevailed Wednesday after tens of thousands of protesters entered Islamabad's high-security Red Zone the night before, five days after arriving in the capital from the eastern city of Lahore in convoys.

Famous cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri have led twin rallies calling on Sharif to step down over alleged voting fraud in the election that brought him to office last year in the country's first-ever democratic transfer of power. Sharif's party says he will not quit, while the country's powerful army has called for a negotiated settlement.