Tens of thousands of people rallied in the main square in Albania's capital on Friday, protesting the state of the economy and calling for a partial recount of ballots from last year's elections.
Demonstrators vowed to stay on the streets until their demands are met
"The time of the resistance has come," Socialist leader Edi Rama told the crowd gathered in front of the Albanian government building in Tirana.
"We are determined to continue the protests and civil disobedience, to oblige the government either to be transparent in regard to the fraud-marked elections or to leave," he said.
Fatmir Xhasa, a Socialist deputy, told the protestors that 22 lawmakers would launch a hunger strike in front of the seat of government to demand election transparency.
The conservative Democrats, led by Prime Minister Sali Berisha, narrowly won the general elections on June 28 but have been hounded by allegations of vote-rigging ever since. In response, the opposition Socialists have staged a boycott, effectively stalling the government for months.
The Socialists returned to parliament in February, but still refuse to take part in any votes. They are calling for a recount of ballots in several voting districts, but the ruling government has rejected the demands as illegal.
The political deadlock has hindered Albania's EU ambitions – the country submitted its candidacy in April last year – and its plans to become part of the visa-free Schengen zone, which covers most of Europe.
Editor: Toma Tasovac
The move comes after an expert UN panel said the Wikileaks founder had been arbitrarily detained. Sweden's chief prosecutor said she would file a new request to interview Assange after Ecuador rejected a previous one.
A container ship, which had run aground in the Elbe River, has been freed after two previous attempts had failed. The boat is expected to continue on its intended course later this week.
The lower house has passed the first article of a sweeping plan giving authorities greater powers to combat terrorism. But human rights groups say the proposed changes to the constitution will undermine citizens' rights.
It's an exceptional event: Glamorous stars meet challenging political filmmakers on the red carpet during Berlin's International Film Festival, the Berlinale. Get your facts straight here before it opens on February 11.