Thousands of tourists stranded, as Peru Congress rejects early vote
Peru's Congress on Friday rejected a move to bring forward elections, while thousands of tourists are stranded in the gateway city to Machu Picchu.
The Peruvian Congress on Friday rejected a move to set elections, while thousands of tourists are stranded in the gateway city to Machu Picchu amid pro-Catillo protests.
Protesters demand the release of ousted president Pedro Castillo, the resignation of current president Dina Boluarte, and for fresh elections to be held. On the other hand, Congress voted against a bill to bring forward elections by more than two years from 2026 to December 2023.
This comes amid the escalation of demonstrations and rise in the death toll after protesters on Thursday night tried to storm the airport in the southern city of Ayacucho that was being guarded by soldiers.
Health minister Rosa Gutierrez announced on Friday that 20 people had been killed since Castillo was arrested on December 7, with two cabinet ministers resigning over the deaths.
Tourists in limbo
Several airports around the country have been closed, including the international terminal in Cusco, which acts as the gateway city to the jewel of Peruvian tourism, the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. It is the third largest in Peru and serves numerous tourist sites in the region.
It has been closed since Monday when protesters tried to storm the terminal, leaving thousands of tourists in limbo. "There are 5,000 tourists stranded in the city of Cusco, they are in their hotels waiting for flights to restart," Darwin Baca, mayor of the nearby town of Machu Picchu, told AFP.
Around 200 mostly American and European tourists have left the town on foot to reach the town of Ollantaytambo, 30 kilometers (20 miles) away, from where they would be able to take a train to Cusco. "What they fear is getting to Cusco and then not being able to go to their country because this could get worse," said Baca.
Several major roads in Cusco have also been blocked by protesters, as have more than 100 roads around the country.
The government of Peru proclaimed on December 14 a 30-day nationwide state of emergency to curb the protests that spurred since President Pedro Castillo was removed from office last week on accusations of insurrection and conspiracy.
"A state of emergency has been declared for the whole country, due to the acts of vandalism and violence, the seizure of highways and roads, which are stabilizing (...) and require a forceful and authoritative response," said Alberto Otarola, Peru's Minister of Defense.
The suspension of a number of rights, including the freedom of assembly, the inviolability of one's home, and freedom of movement, as well as the potential for nighttime curfews, will result from the declaration of a state of emergency.