Hooded protesters in Chile have set up flaming barricades blocking morning traffic ahead of a nationwide strike.

A small group of demonstrators threw firebombs and torched a public transit bus Thursday in the capital Santiago. Police say no injuries were reported.

The strike is organized by Chile's largest workers union.

Striking workers are demanding improved labor conditions and a tax reform. Students demanding free education and miners are expected to join the stoppage.

Chile is often praised by its fast economic growth. But the world's top copper producer is also plagued by vast income inequality and a costly education system.

Protests demanding education reform and a wider distribution of Chile's copper wealth have plunged President Sebastian Pinera's popularity ratings.