Tourist guides peacefully end protests at Cuzco’s Temple of Sun

Hundreds of tourist guides and students staging a sit-in at Cuzco’s Temple of the Sun, also known as the ancient Inca shrine of Coricancha, peacefully ended their protest on Friday, after Congress assured them they demands would be met.

Tourist guides have been protesting a congressional bill designed to open up their profession to people who have not been formally trained as guides.

Bill 28529 proposes to allow “anyone who has professional training and experience” to become a guide at Machu Picchu, in the ancient city of Cuzco, and at historical and archaeological sites throughout Peru.

Three students were injured during the demonstration, when a Molotov cocktail exploded.

In April, guides organized a peaceful demonstration in the Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu – Peru’s top tourist attraction – and obstructed the Cuzco-Machu Picchu railway, forcing PeruRail to temporarily suspend its service. They also restricted access to the Velasco Astete Airport.

“We grew tired of throwing sticks in the middle of the night and getting no answer,” said a professional guide in comments to Radio Radio Programas, or RPP. “If the government wants to break constitutional law, they why can’t we do anything about it?”

Coricancha, dedicated to Viracocha, the creator deity, and Inti, the sun god, was once the most important temple of the Incas, which was later used as a base for the Church of Santo Domingo, when the Spanish conquered the city of Cuzco. Santo Domingo, consecrated in 1654, incorporates the foundations and several walls of Coricancha, a Quechua name meaning “Golden Enclosure,” or “Golden Garden.”

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