Mobs of youths in Liberia's capital, Monrovia, have rampaged through the city, burning buildings and cars.
Plumes of smoke rose Friday from the city's eastern district of Paynesville, where U.N. peacekeepers tried to chase rioters out of the streets.
U.N. helicopters circled overhead.
Witnesses say the violence began as a rare dispute between Christians and Muslims. Many of the buildings burned are churches and mosques.
Interim leader Gyude Bryant announced an immediate round-the-clock curfew.
Liberia is struggling to recover from 14 years of nearly non-stop civil war. Fighting ended last year after former President Charles Taylor agreed to go into exile in Nigeria.
About 40 percent of Liberia's population is Christian and 20 percent Muslim. The rest follow indigenous beliefs.
Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.