Canada has issued a travel advisory for citizens travelling to Peru, citing high levels of crime, social conflict and strikes.
In an announcement Tuesday, Canadian travellers have been advised to “exercise a high degree of caution,” and avoid non-essential travel to certain areas in Peru due to “instances of domestic terrorism and criminal activity such as drug trafficking, robberies, kidnappings, extortion and raids.”
Citizens have also been urged to avoid non-essential travel to border areas with Columbia and Ecuador.
The government of Canada said the political situation in Peru has been especially volatile since early December. “Violent demonstrations” and “clashes between protestors and the security forces have resulted in casualties,” according to the advisory.
Protests erupted across Peru after former leftist president Pedro Castillo was ousted by Congress on Dec. 7. Castillo was arrested after illegally trying to dissolve the Andean nation’s Congress ahead of an impeachment vote.
Former vice-president Dina Boluarte replaced Castillo after he was impeached, becoming the first female president in Peruvian history.
Castillo, who was charged with rebellion and conspiracy, called on his supporters to come to jail, saying he should be released on Wednesday in a hand-written message posted on Twitter.
The Peruvian Supreme Court says it is considering the prosecution’s request for up to 18 months of preventive arrest for Castillo.
At least six people, mostly teenagers, have died in clashes with the police since Dec. 7, according to government officials.
Meanwhile, a man from B.C. who is visiting his girlfriend in Peru said that the protests are not directed at tourists.
Colin Worobetz told Global News that he is planning to stay in the country until Dec. 22, and if the unrest delays his departure he’ll take it in stride.
“The people here they’re not angry at us. As tourists here we’re not in the crosshairs,” he said.
Canadians have also been advised to ensure they have insurance, and to stay up to date on what is happening in their location. They have been urged to not attempt to cross road blockades that protesters have set up to disrupt traffic.
The airports in Arequipa and Cuzco have suspended all activities until further notice, the advisory said, adding that protesters could also block access to other airports.
The regions of Apurimac, Arequipa and Ica have declared a state of emergency, which could be extended to other regions.
— with files from Reuters and Global News’ Simon Little & Kylie Stanton