At least three people have died in the Albanian capital Tirana during clashes between police and supporters of the opposition Socialist Party.
Dozens were injured in the worst violence seen in the Balkan state in the last ten years.
A crowd of up to 20,000 assembled outside the prime minister’s office to demand the resignation of the government. But the protests turned ugly, prompting a heavy response from riot police.
In a live televised address, Prime Minister Sali Berisha accused rival Socialist Party leader Edvin Rama of hiring bandits and criminals to force change on the government.
Opposition demonstrators were angered amid allegations of corruption within the government.
After three hours of skirmishes, the heavy response came from riot police, who used rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas to control the crowds.
Both the president and leader of the Socialists have appealed for calm.