Peruvian authorities closed Machu Picchu’s iconic tourist attraction amid protests that have claimed the lives of dozens since their inception a month ago.
Demonstrations have been spreading throughout the Andean nation from December 1, with new clashes reported at Cusco, the gateway of the nearby Inca trail, and the ancient ruins Machu Picchu.
Cusco’s cultural authorities stated in a statement that due to the current socio-economic situation, the closing of Machu Picchu and the Inca trail network has been ordered as of 21 January.
According to health workers, protesters tried to seize control of the airport that many foreign tourists use to get to the city. Six police officers and 37 civilians were also injured.
Demonstrators also attacked the Arequipa airport and Juliaca in the south, causing serious damage to Peru’s tourism industry.
Protests and roadblockades against the Peruvian President Dina Boruarte’s government, and in support of the ousted president Pedro Castillo broke out in 41 provinces, mostly in Peru’s southern regions.
The worst violence occurred Monday, when 17 people were killed during clashes between police and protestors in Juliaca, near Lake Titicaca. Later, protesters attacked and burnt a police officer.
Friday saw the use of tear gas by security officers in Lima to disperse demonstrators who were throwing glass bottles and stones at the police, while fires erupted in the streets.
Castillo was the first Peruvian president with humble roots. He tried to disband Congress in an attempt to avoid an impeachment trial, which was widely condemned.
After serving as vice president to Pedro Castillo, Dina Boluarte, a left-leaning lawyer, was also sworn into office that day.
Castillo is still supported by the protestors, who are mostly from rural and neglected areas. They demand immediate elections, Boluarte’s resignation, and Castillo’s release.
They also demand justice for protesters who were killed during clashes between police and protesters.
Several civilians were killed in clashes between police and civilians, while at least seven others died in traffic accidents caused by the barricades.