BANGUI, CAR - Three protesters were killed in the tense capital of the Central African Republic on Monday when UN peacekeepers opened fire on a crowd amid a resurgence of deadly violence in the country.

Three died and seven were injured by gunfire, a hospital source said, as a crowd of several hundred headed for the presidency to demand the resignation of interim leader Catherine Samba Panza after the deaths of at least 20 people in Bangui at the weekend.

She is currently in New York attending the UN General Assembly.

After the break-up of the protest, shooting broke out elsewhere in the city where a teenager too was killed after being hit by “a stray bullet,” added the hospital source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Bangui woke up to tension after a dusk-to-dawn curfew, with barricades thrown up across the heart of the city and French and UN peacekeepers on watch at key points after weekend trouble triggered by the killing of a motorcycle-taxi driver.

Few vehicles ventured out onto the roads and most shops remained shuttered throughout the day amid fears of a new episode of the Muslim-Christian violence that has riven the country.

“The (military) gendarmerie, the defence ministry and state radio all came under attack during the night by armed individuals,” said a Central African army source who asked to remain anonymous.

“The attacks were repulsed, causing some fatalities amid the assailants,” added the source, without providing further details.

Protesters erected barricades in several parts of the city on Sunday, which were destroyed by police but subsequently re-built.

The trouble in the already restive impoverished nation led Prime Minister Mahamat Kamoun to slap a curfew on the city.

Medical sources have said that in addition to the more than 20 dead, around 100 people were wounded in violence on Saturday sparked by the murder of a motorcycle-taxi driver in central Bangui’s Muslim-majority PK-5 neighbourhood.

After the death of the driver, whose throat was allegedly slit, clashes and looting spread to nearby districts.

The PK-5 area was the epicentre of unprecedented killings between Christians and Muslims in the city in late 2013 and early 2014 that raised the spectre of a wholesale bloodbath.

It remains the last bastion for Muslims who were hounded from other districts by Christian Seleka fighters.

French soldiers and UN peacekeepers remain in the former French colony where thousands of people died in the violence and hundreds of thousands remain displaced from their homes.

The chronically unstable country descended into bloodshed after a 2013 coup by mainly Muslim Seleka rebels ousted longtime leader Francois Bozize.

His ouster triggered the worst crisis since independence in 1960, and the country since has remained prey to violence between Seleka fighter and Christian militias known as the “anti-balaka”, or anti-machete.

Although unrest has abated considerably, armed groups still operate in some parts of the country.

Presidential and legislative elections are due to be held by the end of the year, but they have already been pushed back several times as the country continues to grapple with the crisis. Pope Francis is due to travel to Bangui on November 29 and 30, the last stop on an African tour.