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Fresh clashes hit capital of Congo Republic

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Supporters of Congo Republic’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso rally in Brazzaville on October 10, 2015, to back the president's controversial bid to change the constitution. (AFP photo)

Security forces and protesters in Congo Republic have clashed for a second consecutive day during a demonstration against a constitutional referendum that could open the door for the long-time president to a new term in office.

The fresh clashes erupted in the western and southern parts of the capital, Brazzaville, as dozens of youths took to the streets on Wednesday.

Responding to violence, security forces fired rounds of tear gas grenades to disperse the protesters.

Media reports indicate that mobile, internet, and text messaging services were cut throughout the city for the second day running.

The new wave of violence comes a day after at least four protesters were killed and 10 others injured in fierce clashes across the violence-hit African country.

Interior Minister Raymond Mboulou confirmed late Tuesday that the unrest has left three people dead in Brazzaville and another in Pointe-Noire, the country's second city.

“Symbols of the republic, such as the headquarters of the police (or) the gendarmerie, were targeted,” the minister said.

A dummy representing Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso is pictured during a rally in Brazzaville on October 10, 2015, to back the president's controversial bid to change the constitution in order to remain in power. (Photo by AFP)

On October 17, Congo Republic’s Prosecutor Andre Galaka Oko warned of “very heavy penalties” for those who threaten public order in the country.

Families across major cities have been stocking up on food over fears of violence in the coming days.

The opposition has called for a protest over President Denis Sassou Nguesso’s bid to extend his three-decade stay in power.

Politicians campaigning against the October 25 referendum have called for a campaign of “civil disobedience.”

The 71-year-old president is barred from seeking re-election when his second term expires next year. The referendum calls for the limit of two terms to be scrapped as well as changing a regulation preventing candidates older than 70 years to run for president.

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