“To protect the social atmosphere and safety of visitors”, Peruvian authorities ordered the closure of access to Machu Picchu on Saturday, January 21, the day after fresh protests.
A demonstrator was injured on Saturday in Ilawe, in the south of the country, after clashes the previous day, the local people’s protector announced. Since the beginning, on December 7, 46 people have been killed in the mobilization against President Tina Polwart.
The only way to get there other than walking is the train that serves Machu Picchu. The road was damaged by the protestors and the road was not passable for several days. The track operator said the tracks had been removed. At least 400 tourists, including 300 foreigners, are stranded at the foot of the site in Aguas Calientes. Tourists “There is no way out as the railway is damaged at several places”Tourism Minister Luis Fernando Helguero said Friday evening. “Some tourists choose to walk to Piscacuccio, but it’s a six hour or more walk and very few can do it”. Piscakucho is the closest village to Machu Picchu.
In December, tourists were stranded at Machu Picchu before being evacuated on a special train, overseen by teams of police and railway workers to repair the tracks. Tourism, vital to the economy, represents 3 to 4% of GDP and provides employment to all strata of the population.
“I don’t know what they’re accusing me of”
The unrest began after the impeachment and arrest of President Pedro Castillo, who was accused of attempting a coup by ordering the dissolution of parliament as he prepared to oust him from power. Authorities have declared a state of emergency in several regions, including the country’s tourist capital Lima and Cusco, without stopping the protests.
The European Union condemned Saturday’s violence and use, and accordingly, “unequal” Coercion by police. “The European Union calls on the Govt (…) Ensure an inclusive dialogue with the participation of civil society and relevant communities”He said in a statement.
The crisis is a reflection of the widening gap between the capital and the poorer provinces, which supported President Castillo, an American-born and member of a Marxist-inspired party who saw his election as revenge for insulting Lima. In the capital, two days after the rally, the situation remains tense with the arrival of demonstrators from the Andean regions.
Members of the security forces broke down the gate of the University of San Marcos in the city center with an armored vehicle to evacuate some of the demonstrators who had been sleeping there for days. Police searched bystanders, sometimes forcing them to lie on the ground in front of the university, before arresting some, AFP journalists noted.
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“I have relatives there. I am worried. We don’t know what will happen. I don’t know what they’re alleging.”, lamented Luz Maria Ramirez, 62, of Andahuaylsas (South), the center of demonstrations in December. Prosecutors and lawyers rushed to the spot “Check and guarantee the legality of police operations” Respect for fundamental rights, the lawyer said in a press release.
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