Peru’s Government has cut off access to the famous ancient ruins at Machu Picchu indefinitely.
It comes after several weeks of violent protests in support of former President Pedro Castillo, who was removed from power in December. An estimated 46 people have been killed so far and hundreds have been arrested.
Pedro Castillo was elected President of Peru in 2021. In December, Peru’s Congress ‘impeached’ (removed) him over corruption allegations, which he denies. He was arrested and replaced by his former Vice President Dina Boluarte.
Castillo has remained defiant, calling Boluarte a “usurper” and claiming he has been “kidnapped”. The U.S, UK and European Union have declared support for Boluarte, but the leaders of Colombia, Mexico, Argentina and Bolivia continue to recognise Castillo as the rightful President.
Widespread protests in support of Castillo led the new Government to declare a nationwide state of emergency last month, which remains in place in some parts of the country.
Violent clashes between police and protesters have intensified in the last few days. On Thursday, a historic building was burnt to the ground in the capital city of Lima. On Friday night, dozens of protesters were injured across the country. On Saturday, hundreds of protesters were arrested at a university campus. At least 46 people have been killed so far.
Over the weekend, authorities announced the indefinite closure of the ancient Inca ruins at Machu Picchu.
There have been violent clashes in the region of Cusco, where Machu Picchu is located, and the rail track to the site has been damaged.
The site is a popular tourist destination, and hundreds were left stranded by the closure. The Government now says it has evacuated all those who were stranded.