World

Republic of Congo capital rocked by protest against referendum to extend president's rule

Witnesses say police in Republic of Congo's capital have fired tear gas to try to disperse protests against a constitutional referendum that could make the country's longtime president eligible for a new term.

Politicians campaigning against the planned Oct. 25 referendum had called for a campaign of "civil disobedience" to begin Tuesday.

Rudel Ganziami, a resident of Brazzaville's southern Bacongo district, said young demonstrators burned tires in the streets and erected barricades Tuesday morning, prompting the police response.

Under current laws 71-year-old President Denis Sassou N'Guesso would be 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 stating candidates must be no older than 70 years.