Police in Chile are launching water cannons and tear gas to repel protesters trying to get past a barrier as President Michelle Bachelet speaks to the nation.

Officers halted marchers several blocks from the Congress building in the port city of Valparaiso, about 66 miles (106 kilometers) northwest of Santiago.

Most of the several thousand people demonstrated peacefully, but some masked protesters set barricades ablaze in the street and some vandalized nearby businesses. Journalists saw several people detained.

Thursday is Naval Day, a holiday when presidents traditionally speak to the nation. This year it comes at a time when Chileans are increasingly fed up with politicians amid several scandals. Bachelet's approval rating is hovering around 30 percent.