Youths burnt tires and blocked the main freeway leading into Dakar, as thousands of others prepared to march to Senegal’s parliament where lawmakers are meeting to consider a controversial change to the constitution.

The proposed law creates the position of vice-president, which critics say is being created only so that 85—year—old President Abdoulaye Wade can pass on power to his unpopular son. The law that triggered Thursday’s protests also lowers the percentage of votes required to win the upcoming 2012 election, reducing the amount from 50 percent of votes cast to just 25 percent of registered voters.

The change favours Wade because the country’s opposition is divided and is likely to splinter the vote.

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