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  HOME | Peru

Protesters Block Highways in Southern Peru

LIMA – People taking part in a 48-hour general strike to protest the policies of Peruvian President Ollanta Humala are blocking the main roadways in the southern region of Cuzco, an official with the public ombudsman’s office told Efe on Wednesday.

“It’s a rather strong paralysis. There is little traffic, there is no public transportation. Interprovincial transportation has also been paralyzed,” said Silvio Campana.

On the second day of the protests, demonstrators are continuing to block the highways linking Cuzco with Lima and the southern cities of Puno and Arequipa.

While the establishment of a tourist corridor so that visitors who arrive in Cuzco may get to the airport downtown has been respected, one incident involving a group of construction workers did occur, Campana said.

“Yesterday (Tuesday) there was an attempt to enter the airport over the walls. They broke part of the airport wall. Today, the group linked to the civil construction sector tried to do the same thing, and in those circumstances we went to the airport to mediate and prevent acts of violence,” he said.

The protesters “have already withdrawn and the police are guarding the corridor and the airport,” Campana said.

The National Tourist Chamber on Wednesday issued a communique in which it rejected the general strike that, it said, is resulting losses of some 6 million soles ($2.12 million).

“Keeping in mind that the Cuzco region is clearly a tourist zone, the ones being hurt the most by this paralysis are the almost 5,000 foreign tourists who arrived yesterday (Tuesday) and today were scheduled to visit the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Pisac, the fortress of Sacsayhuaman and Chinchero, among other places,” the document said.

The largest labor federation in Cuzco called the strike to protest the delay in the awarding of contracts for two major infrastructure projects in the region.

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