Police used tear gas and truncheons Tuesday to disperse protesters who blocked a central Sofia intersection on the second day of a general strike to force the resignation of the Socialist government.

The clash came amid reports that more than 5,000 coal miners had joined the nationwide strike, which organizers said involved several hundred thousand workers on its first day.Government officials maintain that the strike is illegal and say that only about 1 percent of the nation's workers were participating. The independent Podkrepa trade union, the strike organizer, is demanding the ouster of Socialist Prime Minister Andrei Loukanov and his Cabinet.

The clash Tuesday came when police tried to clear away several trucks that striking drivers had used to block a major intersection in downtown Sofia.

A crowd of about 200 people gathered and began jeering the police, and some tried to stop police from removing the vehicles.