Hundreds of Chilean high school students marched here Friday to demand improvements to school buildings and more generous meal subsidies.

After a peaceful procession down the Alameda, central Santiago's main thoroughfare, a small contingent of militants clashed with police, who resorted to water cannon to disperse the crowd, though not before a city bus was set on fire.

Friday's mobilization followed several weeks of small-scale protests and occupations at individual schools driven by grievances ranging from the physical state of the institutions to the problem of sexual harassment.

It is a little more than two months since 36-year-old former student leader Gabriel Boric took office as Chile's youngest president after a campaign in which education featured prominently as an issue.