Anti-government protesters claim victory after occupying area around parliament

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.