Protests erupted throughout Peru in early December 2022. People’s anger over inequality and rising prices, especially in the country’s impoverished rural areas, is a major reason for the rallies.
The trigger was the Peruvian Congress’s decision to remove former President Pedro Castillo from office. Castillo had attempted to illegally dissolve Congress in order to retain control prior to an impeachment vote. He was subsequently taken into custody and is still there.
Dina Boluarte, Castillo’s vice president, took over as president after his imprisonment. CNN reports that protesters are demanding new elections, Boluarte’s resignation, a new constitution, and Castillo’s release. They are also now demanding accountability for the damage and deaths caused by security forces during the demonstrations.
Is It Safe To Travel To Peru Right Now?
The Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency in Lima, Cusco, Puno and Callao province. Although it does not directly affect tourists, the state of emergency suspends certain constitutional rights and gives the police and military more powers to monitor and suppress protests.
In addition, many foreign governments have issued travel warnings. The United States Department of State has issued a Level 3 travel warning, which means that Americans should reconsider traveling to Peru.
The U.S. Embassy in Peru has advised Americans to stay safe by:
Keeping away from crowds, protests, and demonstrations
Avoid interfering with barriers.
Follow any directions issued by local authorities or police.
More than 200 people were arrested by Peruvian police for allegedly entering illegally the campus of a major college in Lima, while officials in Cusco closed the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail as deadly anti-government protests spread across the country.
Cultural authorities in Cusco said in a statement that “in view of the current social situation in which our region and the country are immersed, the closure of the Inca trail network and Machu Picchu has been ordered, as of January 21 and until further notice.”
Tensions rose again Friday as police battled protesters and security forces in Lima used tear gas to disperse the crowd while flames raged in the streets. Dozens of Peruvians were injured as a result.