Image: Demonstrators clash with police in Santiago, Chile
Felipe Trueba  /  EPA
Demonstrators clash with riot police after a march in order to ask a better and free education in Santiago, Chile, on Wednesday.
updated 10/19/2011 5:30:39 PM ET 2011-10-19T21:30:39

Chilean students have erected fiery blockades in major streets of the capital and clashed with police on the first day of a two-day national strike to demand that the government reform the education system.

Masked protesters launched homemade firebombs at police Tuesday before taking refuge inside university and other school buildings. They also lit a public bus on fire outside a university campus after its passengers fled. The clashes jammed traffic throughout Santiago.

Students have been protesting for more than five months to demand free public education for all; reduced state subsidies for private colleges; and improvement in the quality of education overall. They called the two-day demonstrations to protest the lack of an agreement with the government.

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