Lima, Peru. On Saturday, the government of Peru decided to close the renowned Machu Picchu ruins in an indication that the demonstrations that initiated last month have started to take hold of the South American country. The Ministry of Culture declared the closure of this iconic tourist destination and the Inca Trail that leads up to it in order to make sure the safety of the travelers and the common people.
According to the Tourism Minister, Luis Fernando Helguero, there were 417 people who were stuck at Machu Picchu, out of which 300 were from foreign countries. This ancient Incan citadel, which was built in the 15th century and is listed among the seven wonders of the world, has been closed as the protesters have marched to Lima from distant Andean regions, asking for the resignation of President Dina Boluarte.
On Saturday, law enforcement conducted a raid on Peru’s leading public university in Lima to oust individuals who had been residing on campus while taking part in massive demonstrations. Interior Minister Vicente Romero reported that more than 100 people were apprehended.
The protests had mainly been held in the south of the country, commencing after Pedro Castillo, Peru’s initial leader from the Andean hinterland, was removed from office and jailed for attempting to break up Congress.
Demonstrators are insisting on the resignation of Boluarte, the former vice president who was sworn in on December 7th to replace Castillo, as well as the dissolution of Congress and new elections. Castillo is being held in prison on charges of revolt.
Up to this point, more than 55 individuals have perished in the subsequent unrest, with the most recent death occurring on Friday night when one protester was killed and around nine others were injured during a clash with police in Puno. In the south of the country, a total of 21 demonstrators and one police officer have passed away.
On Saturday morning, law enforcement officials used a small tank to enter the National University of San Marcos. That evening, a large group of demonstrators gathered outside the police station where those detained were being held.
Other people had congregated in other places in downtown Lima. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expressed their worries regarding the police raid, eviction, and mass arrests at the university, and urged the government to guarantee the safety and legal rights of all people.
The university released a statement, claiming that the police raid happened after protesters “assaulted” the security staff.
In Cusco, where Machu Picchu is located, the most severe clashes have occurred, leading to a reduction in tourist numbers. This week, the Cusco airport was briefly closed after protesters tried to break into it. The train service to Machu Picchu has been suspended since Thursday because of rail damage.