Peru: Thousands of tourists stranded in gateway city to Machu Picchu as anti-govt protest continues

Pedro Castillo, the center-left president ousted on Wednesday by lawmakers after he sought to dissolve Congress ahead of an impeachment vote.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Saturday, December 17, 2022, 07:26 PM IST
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Tourists stranded at the airport | SKY UK

Peru: Thousands of tourists have reportedly been left stranded in the Peruvian city of Cusco along with hundreds of others in the area around the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu because of anti-government protests.

The demonstrations were sparked earlier this month after Pedro Castillo, the center-left president was ousted on Wednesday by lawmakers after he sought to dissolve Congress ahead of an impeachment vote. Castillo is set to be held in jail for 18 months ahead of his trial on rebellion and conspiracy charges.

The nation's new president, Dina Boluarte, the former VP, was sworn in on Wednesday last week after Castillo tried to dissolve parliament and rule by decree until new elections, before he was removed from office by politicians.

Protestors demand fresh elections

There have been angry protests by Castillo's supporters demanding a fresh presidential election, which has resulted in police using tear gas and gunfire to try to quell the unrest. At least 18 people have been killed in clashes between demonstrators and security forces.

Protesters forced the closure of five Peruvian airports, including the third largest, Cusco international, which serves a number of tourist sites including Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Airport, Rail Service suspended

On Monday, some demonstrators tried to storm that airport which was then shut, leading to many tourists being stranded. It has reportedly now reopened to resume flights.

"There are 5,000 tourists stranded in the city of Cusco, they are in their hotels waiting for flights to restart," Darwin Baca, mayor of the town of Machu Picchu, told the AFP news agency.

And a rail service has been suspended since Tuesday, leaving around 800 tourists stranded in Machu Picchu town at the foot of the mountain where the Inca citadel stands.

The mayor has asked Spain, the US and Mexico to help evacuate the tourists by helicopter to Cusco, said the La Vanguardia news website.

About 200 mostly American and European tourists have left Machu Picchu on foot along train tracks to try to get to the town of Ollantaytambo, 20 miles away, from where they would be able to take a train to Cusco.

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