Students in Chile have been filmed breaking out of their school gates to join protests that have rocked the south American country for three weeks.

Demonstrators have been taking to the streets to demand better social services and a more equal distribution of wealth.

In footage posted on Twitter, hundreds of secondary school students can be seen pushing against the metal gates at the Bajo Molle school in the northern city of Iquique.

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The lock on the gate eventually gives and the students run out on to the streets to join the protests.

It comes as footage emerged of protesters throwing Molotov cocktails at police after they used tear gas canisters and water cannon in the capital Santiago.

Police officer set on fire in Chile protests

Two police officers were engulfed in flames and their colleagues used fire extinguishers and their hands to put out the fires.

One of the officers can be seen grimacing in pain as the flames licked around her face.

Police said the two women, Maria Jose Hernandez Torres, 25, and Abigail Catalina Aburto Cardenas, 20, are in serious condition in hospital.

Chile’s interior minister, Gonzalo Blumen, denounced the attack as “pure violence” when he visited the women in hospital on Monday evening.

He said it had “nothing to do with the legitimate demands of citizens”.

“It was a violent, cowardly aggression against two police officers who were working to protect the safety of our compatriots.”

Around 800 police officers have been injured in the demonstrations, along with 1,650 protesters who have been hospitalised, according to human rights groups. 

The latest protests came after a short break in demonstrations in which 20 people died in clashes amid looting and arson forcing the cancellation of two upcoming major international summits.

The relocation of the COP25 Climate Change Conference from Santiago in Chile to Madrid, Spain, left teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg stranded in the US.

Ms Thunberg sent out an appeal on social media for help crossing the Atlantic to mainland Europe in order to attend the conference.

Additional reporting by agencies

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