Calm returning to Peru but some tourists are still stranded; Congress votes for early elections

Dec 22, 2022 | 1 comment

After 14 days of often violent protests, calm is returning to Peru. The government reported no new deaths Wednesday and said most of the country’s highways have been cleared of debris and that the country’s airports are open and operating normally.

According to the Peruvian government, protests on Tuesday and Wednesday have been peaceful.

Protests erupted December 10 following the impeachment and arrest of President Pedro Castillo and the installation of Dina Boluarte as new president. Police report 27 deaths during the protests although protest leaders say the toll is higher.

“Transportation is returning in normal in most of the cities are once again experiencing peaceful conditions,” the government ministry said Wednesday. “On Tuesday and Wednesday, protests have been peaceful with no violent incidents.”

The government added that it has airlifted a group of tourists from the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu to the airport in Cusco. The railway that provides access to the ruins has been blocked since December 12. “We expect to have the train tracks cleared within days, allowing egress and ingress to return to resume,” the government said.

Other tourists trapped in the colonial cities of Arequipa and Andahuaylas have also been allowed to leave as airport runways have been cleared of rocks and tires, the government said. The airlines report a backlog of travelers at Lima’s international airport but say all those who want to the leave the country should be accommodated by Sunday.

Peru’s Congress on Tuesday voted to move up general elections from 2026 to April 2024 in a bid to ease tensions and head off deadly protests sparked by the ousting and arrest of president Pedro Castillo.

The political maelstrom has also touched off a diplomatic row with Mexico, which has voiced its support for Castillo, a leftist onetime schoolteacher. Castillo remains in prison but his family has been allowed to fly to Mexico City, where they have been granted political asylum

Castillo was removed from office and detained earlier this month after seeking to dissolve Congress to rule by decree. His ousting was criticized by his leftist Latin American allies including Mexico and brought thousands of his supporters into the streets.

In addition to those who died in the protests, another 650 have been reported injured.