Peru protests: Tourists are stranded as Machu Picchu is closed amid escalating unrest

Australians are urged to follow the guidance of local authorities in Peru as violent protests have led to the indefinite closure of Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said it continues to closely monitor the ongoing civil unrest in Peru as the Lima Embassy confirmed the temporary closure of both sites, as well as rail services to and from the sites.
“We stand ready to provide consular assistance to any Australian national affected by the closures,” a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson said in a statement to SBS News.
It remains unclear if any Australians were stranded along the Inca Trail or at Machu Picchu.
When Peru declared a state of emergency.
Peruvian authorities have ordered the closure of the Inca fortress of Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail from Saturday amid anti-government demonstrations that have spread across the country and left a growing number of dead.
Dozens of Peruvians were injured after tension flared up again on Friday as police clashed with demonstrators, as security forces in the capital, Lima, used tear gas to repel protesters who threw bottles and stones, while streets caught fire.

About 46 people were killed in the weeks-long clashes and nine others in traffic accidents linked to the barricades set up amid the protests.

The Inca fortress of Machu Picchu attracted more than a million tourists a year before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Source: GT / Marcus Daniel

In the Cusco region, the gateway to Machu Picchu, Glencore’s main copper mine, Glen.Al, suspended operations on Friday after protesters attacked the building – one of the largest in the country – for the third time this month.

Airports in Arequipa, Cusco and the southern city of Juliaca were also attacked by protesters, dealing a new blow to Peru’s tourism industry.

“In light of the current social situation in which our region and the country is mired, the order has been given to close the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu network, effective from January 21 until further notice,” Cusco’s cultural authorities said in a statement.

The majestic Inca fortress is a major tourist attraction, with more than a million visitors annually, although that number has declined due to the pandemic.
Peru has been rocked by protests since former president Pedro Castillo was ousted in December after he tried to dissolve the legislature to prevent an impeachment vote.
The unrest, which until this week was concentrated in southern Peru, prompted the government to extend it and curtailing some civil rights.
Anyone with concerns about Australians can contact the Consular Emergency Center on 1300 555 135 in Australia or +61 2 6261 3305 outside Australia. Tips for travelers can be found at

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