12 students have been arrested in an anti-government protest as Bulgarian police end the blockade of parliament.
Police have dispersed Bulgarian students who cordoned off parliament for almost 12 hours in an anti-government protest that led to 12 arrests and left at least two people injured.
The protest followed months of street tensions in the European Union's poorest country and came a day after students padlocked Sofia University demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski's embattled Socialist-backed government.
"The university occupation is not ending. It is changing into an active blockade of parliament," the students had announced on their Facebook page on Tuesday morning, urging supporters to join them.
Several hundred people answered the call and formed a tight human chain around the heavily guarded building, which has been protected by tall metal railings since street protests against Oresharski began five months ago.
The protesters booed and shouted: "You are a disgrace. Resignation and jail!" and "We will be here every day until we win."
Clashes occurred throughout the day as a police cordon tried to push back the students, who tore down part of the railing surrounding parliament by ramming it with rubbish containers.
The interior ministry said that 12 protesters had been arrested for hooliganism, damaging property and failing to obey police orders.
About 1,000 demonstrators - many draped in Bulgarian flags - remained outside parliament in the evening, shouting "Resignation!" "Mafia" and "Killers" and pulling at the railings.
Some lobbed water bottles and other objects at the thick cordons of police in anti-riot helmets and shields.
Several hundred police officers were deployed in the area, an unusually high number compared to recent rallies.
They marched upon the crowd shortly after 9:30pm, clearing the area in front of the building.
Bulgaria has been rocked by anti-government demonstrations since February, when public anger over growing poverty and corruption forced the resignation of the conservative cabinet.
Oresharski's technocrat government took office in May but quickly sparked even bigger street rallies, as critics accused it too of corruption and links to the oligarchy.
The protests, which gathered up to 20,000 demonstrators during the summer, have subsided in recent months.