Thousands surround Albania parliament, demand new elections

Thousands of protesters supporting Albania's opposition have surrounded the parliament, demanding the government's resignation and early elections and accusing the Cabinet of corruption and crime links.

The parliament building in capital Tirana was surrounded Tuesday by hundreds of police officers and barbed wire.

Lawmakers of the center-right Democratic Party-led opposition have resigned from their posts.

Recent rallies saw demonstrators using flares and throwing hard objects while police have responded with tear gas.

The opposition has not heeded calls from the European Union, the U.S. and international organizations to enter talks with its political rivals.

The governing Socialists of Prime Minister Edi Rama hold 74 seats in the 140-seat parliament.

Albania hopes to launch membership negotiations with the European Union in June.