Albanian opposition blocks roads in anti-government protest

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The opposition has blocked Albania's four main highway junctions in an anti-government protest accusing it of links to organized crime and of increasing both taxes and poverty.

The conservative Democratic Party-led opposition boycotted Thursday's parliamentary session to launch a "civil disobedience" campaign through blocking the country's main roads and calling on the people not to pay increased taxes.

Hundreds of opposition supporters gathered at the four junctions across the country, blocking the traffic and calling for Prime Minister Edi Rama's resignation.

Police said they considered the gatherings as illegal after receiving no request to hold them.

The Democrats suffered a landslide loss in last year's vote, securing only 43 seats in the 140-seat parliament.

Albania, a NATO member since 2009, was granted EU candidate status in 2014 and hopes to launch negotiations this year.