Entry to Machu Picchu has been suspended amid unrest in Peru

(CNN) – Officials in the country said on Saturday that tourist entry to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail network has been suspended until further notice due to the ongoing unrest in Peru.

The Directorate of Decentralization of Culture and the Directorate of Machu Picchu Historic Reserve said in a statement the day before that tourists with a ticket for January 21 or later can claim refunds for up to one month after the protests end.

Earlier this week, protests in Peru continued across the country, leaving at least 30 people injured. At least two police officers were injured and 11 people arrested 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 on Friday.
Peru is experiencing some of the worst political violence in recent decades. The protesters want new elections, Boulwart’s resignation, a change in the constitution and the release of Castillo, who is currently in pre-trial detention. At the heart of the crisis are demands to improve living conditions that have not been achieved in the past two decades since the restoration of democratic rule in the country.

Inca fortress Machu Picchu is seen in Cusco, Peru, in this December 2, 2014 photo.

Enrique Castro Mendeville/Reuters

According to Andina, parts of the Urubamba, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu railway lines were damaged during the anti-government protests on Thursday, leading to the suspension of train services until further notice. The funicular service has left 417 people – including 300 foreigners – stranded in the Machu Picchu region.

And according to Peruvian Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism Luis Hilgero, at least 300 of these tourists are foreigners.

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

Helgero said authorities were assessing the damage and repairing it so that tourists could be evacuated. Some tourists were evacuated on foot, but the journey, Helgheru said, took at least six to seven hours.

PeruRail said Thursday that it has suspended services to and from Machu Picchu, among other destinations, due to closed and damaged tracks in various places.

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

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