The tourist destination Machu Picchu was shut down indefinitely by Peru on Saturday, the latest indication that anti-government protests that started last month are spreading throughout the South American nation.
According to the Ministry of Culture, the most well-known tourist destination in the nation and the Inca Trail that leads to it have been blocked “to protect the safety of travelers and the community in general.”
More than 300 of the 417 people who are trapped at Machu Picchu and unable to leave are foreigners, according to Luis Fernando Helguero, the tourism minister.
The shutdown of the Incan fortress, built in the 15th century and sometimes listed as one of the world’s new seven wonders, comes as demonstrators from distant Andean provinces have marched on Lima, the nation’s capital, calling for President Dina Boluarte to step down.
To evict protesters from distant areas who were staying on campus while participating in significant demonstrations that started in the capital on Thursday, police invaded Peru’s most prestigious public university in Lima on Saturday.
The protests, which were previously centered in the south of the nation, started last month shortly after President Pedro Castillo, the first president of Peru to come from a rural Andean background, was impeached and jailed for attempting to dissolve Congress.
The subsequent rioting has resulted in the deaths of over 55 persons.
The most recent incident occurred Friday night after conflicts with police in the southern Puno district, during which a demonstrator died, and at least nine other people were hurt.
Boluarte, the former vice president sworn into office on December 7 to replace Castillo, is being called upon to quit by protesters.
They also want the dissolution of Congress and new elections. Castillo is currently in custody after being accused of rebelling.
Some tourists stranded at Machu Picchu have opted to go to Piscacucho, the closest village, but Helguero noted that this requires a six- to seven-hour trip and that only a select handful are capable of doing so.
Due to track problems, the train service to Machu Picchu has been suspended since Thursday. Some tourists opt to climb the multi-day Inca Trail to reach Machu Picchu.
Since the demonstrations started, tourists have been stranded in Machu Picchu before.
Intense skirmishes between demonstrators and law enforcement have occurred in Cusco, where Machu Picchu is located, resulting in a considerable loss of revenue for the tourism industry.
This week, demonstrators attempted to overrun the Cusco airport’s facilities, which led to a brief closure.
From Saturday until one month following the end of the protests, those who had already purchased tickets for Machu Picchu could get a discount.