Groups of youths in this capital and other Chilean cities battled with police early Friday on the annual Day of the Young Combatant, which commemorates the killing of two activists by the 1973-1990 Pinochet regime.

Twenty-two people were arrested in Santiago and four others in the northern city of Iquique, while one police officer suffered injuries after he was pelted with rocks, authorities said.

Disturbances began late Thursday in poor neighborhoods of the capital as masked youths raised barricades, burned vehicles and fired guns.

Police responded with tear gas and water cannon.

The Day of the Young Combatant marks the deaths of brothers Rafael and Eduardo Vergara Toledo, leftist militants killed by the security forces on March 29, 1985, during a protest in Santiago's Villa Francia neighborhood against Gen. Augusto Pinochet's rule.

Recent years have witnessed an increase in the number of violent incidents associated with the anniversary.

Additional police were deployed in Santiago neighborhoods that are often trouble spots on the Day of the Young Combatant and the extra cops will remain on the streets through Saturday.

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