Machu Picchu closed in Peru as anti-government protests flare

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LIMA, Peru — Peru indefinitely shut the famed ancient ruins of Machu Picchu on Saturday in the latest sign that anti-government protests that began last month are increasingly engulfing the South American country.

The Culture Ministry said it had closed the country’s most famous tourist attraction as well as the Inca Trail leading up to the site “to protect the safety of tourists and the population in general.”

There were 417 visitors stuck at Machu Picchu and unable to get out, more than 300 of them foreigners, Tourism Minister Luis Fernando Helguero said at a news conference.

The closure of the Incan citadel that dates to the 15th century and is often referred to as one of the new seven wonders of the world comes as protesters have descended on Lima, many of them traveling to the capital from remote Andean regions, to demand the resignation of President Dina Boluarte.

‘The most nerve-wracking moment’:Stranded tourists in Machu Picchu escape deadly clashes between protesters, police

Also Saturday, police raided Peru’s most important public university in Lima to evict protesters who were being housed at the campus while participating in big demonstrations. More than 100 people were detained, Interior Minister Vicente Romero said.

Until recently, the protests had been concentrated in the country’s south. They began last month after then-President Pedro Castillo, Peru’s first leader with a rural Andean background, was impeached and imprisoned for trying to dissolve Congress.

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