Hundreds of police raided the University of Lima on Saturday, breaking down the gates with armored vehicles, firing tear gas and arresting more than 200 people who had come to the Peruvian capital to take part in anti-government protests.
Pictures show dozens of people lying face down on the ground at the University of San Marcos after a police crackdown. The students said they were pushed, kicked and beaten with sticks after being evicted from their dormitories.
Police raid oldest San Marcos university America – The latest in a series of insults calling for President Tina Polwart to step down after six weeks of unrest that have claimed 60 lives, injured at least 580 and arrested more than 500.
With protests and roadblocks paralyzing much of the country, Peruvian authorities on Saturday ordered the closure “until further notice” of the Inca Trail leading to the Inca citadel and World Heritage site of Machu Picchu – Peru’s biggest tourist attraction. Over a million visitors per year.
Peru’s tourism ministry said on Saturday that rescue teams had evacuated more than 400 stranded tourists from the iconic site.
“This afternoon 418 domestic and foreign visitors were transferred from the city of Machu Picchu … to Cusco,” the ministry’s Twitter account posted, along with photos of a train and passengers.
The Demonstrations It began in early December in support of ousted former president Pedro Castillo, but Polwart’s resignation has largely shifted to shutting down Congress and demanding new elections. Poluarte was Castillo’s vice president and was replaced after he tried Shutter Congress and ruled by decree on 7 December.
Many of those arrested in Saturday’s raid had traveled to the capital from southern Peru to take part in a demonstration last Thursday. “Taking Lima” It began peacefully but descended into clashes between protesters and riot police amid stone-pelting and teargas volleys.
In a statement TwitterUN Human Rights The High Commissioner’s Office called on Peruvian authorities to “ensure legality and proportionality”. [police] Guarantees of intervention and due process.” It emphasized the importance of the presence of absent litigants in the first hours of the trial.
Students living in residence halls said they were violently forced out by armed police, who broke down doors, used trolleys and kicked them out.
Esteban Godofredo, a 20-year-old political science student, was treated for leg injuries. “He hit me with his stick, he threw me to the ground and started kicking me,” said Godofredo, sitting on the grass outside the residence with his badly injured, bandaged right calf.
Videos seen by the Guardian showed confused and frightened students huddled outside their halls, some still in their pyjamas, as riot police shouted orders and insults. The youths were forced to stand against the wall or kneel in rows.
“They pointed their guns at us and shouted ‘Get out.’ We didn’t have time to get our IDs,” said Jenny Fuentes, 20, a student teacher. “They forced us to kneel down. Many girls were crying, but they told us to shut up. .
“They didn’t tell us why we were being evicted from our rooms,” she said. A group of about 90 students, who were staying on campus for work and study during the summer vacation, were then marched to the main courtyard, a 10-minute walk away, where others were detained.
Hours after the raid, they were not allowed to return to their rooms, which were searched by the police.
“I was a student at San Marcos [University] We haven’t experienced this kind of outrage since the 1980s,” said a congresswoman, Suzelle Paredes, as she was blocked from entering the compound by a police cordon.
“The police have entered the university residence, the rooms of female students who have nothing to do with the protesters. They threatened them while they were sleeping and took them out of their rooms.
Paredes said it was a flashback to regular police and armed forces raids at the public university in the 1980s and ’90s, when the campus was seen as a subjugation ground during the state’s conflict with Mao-inspired Shining Path rebels.
“We are not at that time, we are under a democratic government that respects fundamental rights,” Paredes said.
Agence France-Presse contributed to this report