Peruvian police make 200 arrests in Lima; Machu Picchu ordered shut as protests erupt

Anti-government protesters clash with the police, as they demand the release of protesters detained in the protests, after President Pedro Castillo was ousted, in Lima, Peru January 21, 2023. REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda

Peruvian police arrested nearly 200 individuals accused of illegally entering a central university campus in Lima. At the same time, authorities in Cusco closed the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu and the Inca path as violent anti-government demonstrations expanded nationwide.

Tensions flared up again on Friday when police fought with protesters, with security personnel in the capital city of Lima employing tear gas to resist demonstrators throwing glass bottles and stones while fires burning in the streets. Dozens of Peruvians were hurt.

Approximately 46 people were murdered in the weeks-long conflicts, while nine more were killed in car accidents caused by barricades erected during the protests.

Alfonso Barrenechea, the prosecutor's office's crime prevention division, told local radio station RPP that 205 persons were detained at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos for illegally trespassing on university grounds and for stealing electronic products.

The institution said in a statement that a group of masked demonstrators assaulted the school late Friday night and removed security guards from the campus after stealing vests and other equipment from them.

In internet videos, an armoured truck is shown destroying a university campus door to give security troops admittance.

In the Cusco area, the gateway to Machu Picchu, Glencore's (GLEN.L) Antapaccay copper mine ceased operations on Friday after demonstrators attacked the facility - one of the country's most significant - for the third time this month.

Demonstrators also attacked airports in Arequipa, Cusco, and the southern city of Juliaca, further damaging Peru's tourism economy.

In light of the current socioeconomic situation in our region and country, the Inca path network and Machu Picchu have been ordered closed as of January 21 until further notice, according to a statement released by Cusco's cultural authority.

The impressive Incan fortress is a popular tourist destination, attracting over a million tourists annually, but this number has decreased since the pandemic.

Since former President Pedro Castillo was deposed in December after attempting to postpone an impeachment vote by dissolving the legislature, protests have rocked Peru.

The upheaval, confined to the south of Peru until this week, has pushed the government to extend a state of emergency to six districts and restrict some fundamental liberties.

Publish : 2023-01-22 11:37:00

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