Peru’s parliament, which has largely lost the confidence of public opinion, has refused to organize early general elections in a country facing a severe political crisis and violently repressed demonstrations that have killed 18 people while 5,000 have been stuck in the Machu Picchu area.
The failure of a bill introduced by a party opposed to ousted President Pedro Castillo puts new President Dina Pollarte in a difficult position and could anger demonstrators who have included immediate general elections and the dissolution of parliament among their demands. parliament.
Demonstrations continue to demand the release of Castillo and the resignation of Pollarte, especially in Arequipa (south), Huancayo (center), Cusco (southeast), Ayacucho (south) and Puno (Bolivian border).
The death toll has now risen to 18, according to the Ministry of Health. A number of the victims were shot dead by the police and the army. Also, according to the non-governmental human rights organization, 147 people were arrested.
On December 7, 53-year-old left-wing President Pedro Castillo ordered the dissolution of Parliament, which shortly thereafter voted overwhelmingly to impeach him due to “moral incapacity.”
Castillo was arrested while trying to take refuge in the Mexican embassy. And the government, faced with a situation beyond its capacity, declared a state of emergency across all territories on Wednesday, allowing the army to intervene.
Helicopters in Machu Picchu
Cusco Airport, the country’s tourist capital, reopened on Friday afternoon, allowing tourists to begin evacuating, according to photos released by the Department of Defense.
On Friday morning, Machu Picchu Mayor Darwin Baca told AFP that “5,000 tourists” were stranded in Cusco.
According to figures released by the municipality, there are 622 tourists in Machu Picchu itself, including 525 foreign tourists who are also stranded.
The train, which has been suspended since Tuesday, is the only modern way to reach the site from Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca empire, 110 km away.
On Saturday, the army is to send a helicopter that will make “four humanitarian trips to transport tourists” from Machu Picchu to Cusco, according to the municipality, which confirmed that priority will be given to families with “children and vulnerable people.”
About 200 tourists, mostly North Americans and Europeans, left the area on foot, following a railway line, to reach Ollantaytambo, 30 km away, where buses were waiting for them.