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Entrance to Machu Picchu suspended due to unrest in Peru

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(CNN) — Tourist entry to the Machu Picchu Citadel and Inca Trail network has been suspended until further notice due to ongoing unrest in Peru, officials in the country said on Saturday.

The Decentralized Directorate of Culture and the Directorate of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu said in a statement the day before that tourists who have a ticket for January 21 or later can request a refund up to a month after the end of the demonstrations. .

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 its worst political violence in recent decades. The protesters want new elections, the resignation of Boluarte, a change in the constitution and the release of Castillo, who is currently in pretrial detention. At the heart of the crisis are demands for better living conditions that have not been met in the two decades since the restoration of democratic rule in the country.

The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is seen in Cusco, Peru, in this file photo from December 2, 2014.

Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Reuters

According to Andina, parts of the Urubamba-Ollantaytambo-Machu Picchu railway were damaged during Thursday’s anti-government protests, forcing train services to be suspended until further notice. The suspended train service left 417 people, including 300 foreign nationals, stranded in the Machu Picchu district.

At least 300 of those tourists are foreigners, according to Peruvian Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Luis Helguero.

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

Helguero said authorities are assessing and repairing the damage so tourists can be evacuated. Some tourists were evacuated on foot, but the trek, Helguero said, took at least six to seven hours.

PeruRail announced on Thursday that it was suspending services to and from Machu Picchu, among other destinations, because tracks were blocked and damaged in various places.

“We regret, however, the inconvenience this is causing our passengers due to a situation beyond the company’s control due to the protests in Cusco,” the statement read.

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