Albanian protesters try to enter the government building in Tirana

Thousands of Albanian opposition supporters on Saturday clashed with police in an anti-government rally in Tirana to protest what they say is a corrupt and inefficient Cabinet, demanding its resignation and early elections. Protesters broke through police ranks as they tried to enter the building of leftist Socialist Party PM Edi Rama, news wires reported.

The main poster read "This is the end of the thieves," while another was a picture of Rama's face made to resemble that of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The rally was organized by the center-right Democratic Party. Demonstrators threw flares and other objects and tried to destroy a protective cover at the main door, which was later broken. They did not go inside. They also broke down an art work on the side of the government building.

In an interview with The Associated Press before the rally, Democrats' leader Lulzim Basha said they want the government to resign, a transitional Cabinet and early elections "in order to restore democracy through a parliament that is elected by the will of people and not the money or the threats of the criminals." Interior Minister Sander Lleshaj called on political leaders to distance themselves from violence.

Albania, a NATO member since 2009, hopes to get this year the EU's approval to launch full membership negotiations.

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