Machu Picchu in Peru reopens as capital protests move

A view of Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca city

Machu Picchu, an Inca citadel, will reopen on Wednesday, according to Peruvian authorities.

The Unesco World Heritage site, which receives thousands of visitors each day, was shut down more than three weeks ago as a result of anti-government protestors blocking important access routes.

Officials promised to guarantee the security of the historic site and the access routes.

The capital, Lima, as well as other southern regions are still experiencing protests.

Peru's economy depends heavily on tourism, and it is estimated that the ongoing political crisis has cost the country losses in excess of $6 million (£5 million).

Last week, limited train service to Machu Picchu was resumed. After protesters threw rocks at the line, they had been put on hold.

Residents and visitors arrive to Machu Picchu, Peru on the first train after the service from Ollantaytambo was renewed on February 8, 2023.
Since February 8th, trains have resumed running to Machu Picchu.

While things have calmed down a little around the ancient sanctuary high in the Andes, major disruption is still occurring in other areas.

When Pedro Castillo, the president at the time, attempted to dissolve Congress before a vote on whether to impeach him, the political crisis broke out on December 7th.

President Castillo was removed from office and replaced by his vice president, Dina Boluarte, after Congress disobeyed him and moved forward with his impeachment.

Ms. Boluarte initially declared that she would complete the remainder of Mr. Castillo's presidential term, or until July 2026. She urged lawmakers to move the election up though, as violent protests were sweeping the nation.

Congress conceded that it would be moved to April 2024, but this move did not stop the increasingly violent protests.

According to the Peruvian Ombudsman's office, 60 people have died in clashes between security personnel and protesters since the crisis began.

Although Congress is bitterly divided, President Boluarte has attempted to persuade it to accede to protesters' demands for even earlier elections. However, Congress has so far refused.

In the meantime, public rage has increased, with many calling for Ms. Boluarte's immediate resignation and new elections for the president and Congress this year. Others favor constitutional reform as well.

Authorities in Lima have forbade gatherings in several of the city's major squares as some of the protests have spread to the city's political epicenter.

President Boluarte announced on Tuesday that the Callao province, the nation's main thoroughfares, and the capital would remain under a 30-day state of emergency.

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