Entry to Machu Picchu suspended amid unrest in Peru

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(CNN) — Tourist entry to Machu Picchu Citadel and the Inca Trail Network has been suspended until further notice due to ongoing unrest in Peru, officials in the country said Saturday.

The Decentralized Culture Directorate and Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary Directorate said in a statement the day before that tourists who have a ticket for January 21 or later can claim a refund for up to one month after the end of protests.

Earlier this week, protests in Peru continued across the country leaving at least 30 injured. At least two police officers were injured and 11 people detained as protests turned violent in the southern city of Puno on Friday. A police station in Puno was set on fire. Interior Minister Vicente Romero said protesters attacked police stations, government buildings and private businesses across the country Friday.
Peru is seeing some of its worst political violence in recent decades. Protesters want new elections, the resignation of Boluarte, a change to the constitution and the release of Castillo, who is currently in pre-trial detention. At the core of the crisis are demands for better living conditions that have gone unfulfilled in the two decades since democratic rule was restored in the country.
The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is seen in Cusco, Peru, in this December 2, 2014 file photo.

The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is seen in Cusco, Peru, in this December 2, 2014 file photo.

Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Reuters

According to Andina, parts of the Urubamba-Ollantaytambo-Machu Picchu railway were damaged during the anti-government protests on Thursday, forcing train services to be suspended until further notice. The suspended train service left 417 people — including 300 foreign nationals — stranded in the Machu Picchu district.

At least 300 of those tourists are foreigners, according to Peru’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism Luis Helguero.

“People are still trapped in Machu Picchu,” Helguero said. “417 tourists cannot leave the city, more than 300 are foreigners.”

Helguero said authorities are evaluating and repairing the damage so the tourists can be evacuated. Some tourists have been evacuated by foot, but the trek, Helguero said, was at least six to seven hours long.

PeruRail said Thursday it was suspending its services to and from Machu Picchu, among other destinations, because tracks were blocked and damaged in various places.

“We regret the inconvenience this causes our passengers however due to a situation beyond the company’s control because of the protests in Cuzco,” the statement said.

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