Peru closed the famous ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. On Saturday in the latest sign that anti-government protests. That began last month are gripping the South American country.
The culture ministry said it had closed the country’s most famous tourist attraction.
As well as the Inca Trail leading to the site “for the safety of tourists and the population in general”.
417 visitors were trapped in Machu Picchu and could not get out, more than 300 of them foreigners. Tourism Minister Luis Fernando Helguero told a news conference.
The Incan citadel, which dates back to the 15th century. And is often cited as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, was closed. As protesters descended on Lima, many of them from remote Andean regions demanding travel to the capital. Resignation of President Dina Bouluarte.
Also on Saturday, police raided Peru’s most important public university in Lima to evict protesters. Who were staying on campus while taking part in major protests. More than 100 people have been detained, Interior Minister Vicente Romero said.
Until recently, the protests were concentrated in the south of the country. They began last month after then-President Pedro Castillo. Peru’s first leader with a rural Andean background, was impeached and imprisoned for trying to dissolve Congress.
Protesters are demanding the resignation of Bouluarte.
Who was sworn into office on Dec. 7 to replace former vice president Castillo. They want new elections by disbanding the Congress. Castillo is currently being held on charges of rebellion.
More than 55 people have died in the ensuing unrest, most recently in clashes with police in Puno on Friday night. That left one protester dead and at least nine injured. A total of 21 protesters and one police officer died in the southern region.
On Saturday morning, police used a small tank to detonate the National University of San Marcos.
Javier Kutipa, 39, who traveled by bus from Puno, had been sleeping on the floor there since Thursday. But left to have breakfast before police arrived. He described the police action with helicopters, tear gas and small tanks as “an attack”.
“It bothers us. What the government is doing with these detentions is making the tension worse,” Kutipa said. He added that “when the population finds out about it they’re going to react in a more radical fashion.”
Hundreds of protesters chanted “freedom” and “we are students, not terrorists. At the site where the detainees were held on Saturday evening. There were further gatherings at other points in downtown Lima.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expressed “concern about police infiltration, evictions. And mass detentions” at universities and called on the state to “guarantee the integrity. And due process of all people”.
The university issued a press release saying the police raid came. After protesters “assaulted” security personnel.
Cusco, where Machu Picchu is located, has been the site of the most intense conflict. Leading to a significant loss of tourism revenue. Cusco airport was closed this week after protesters tired of storming it.
Train service to Machu Picchu has been suspended since Thursday due to track damage.
Some stranded tourists chose to walk to the nearest village of Piscakucho, Helguero said. But that involves walking six, seven hours or more and only a few people manage to do it.”
Tourists who have already bought tickets to Machu Picchu. Saturday will be able to get full refunds a month after the protests end, the culture ministry said.