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Peru Unrest Continues, Moves into Lima

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After over a month of unrest throughout Peru, demonstrations escalated in Lima on January 19. The spread of unrest to the capital posed an operational challenge to many private sector members, since until then Lima had been spared the violence and extensive transportation disruptions seen in the south of Peru. Private-sector organizations operating in Lima and throughout Peru should be attuned to the potential for protracted demonstrations and transportation disruptions.

Situation Update

Thousands of people continue to demonstrate in Lima. President Dina Boluarte called for a “political truce” with the protesters, a call which appears to have been rejected as protests continued. Without such a political agreement to pause protests and enter dialogue, unrest in Lima is expected to continue in the coming days and weeks. Many protesters appear to have traveled to Lima from other regions.

Significant unrest also continues elsewhere in the country, primarily in the south. Clashes between protesters and law enforcement continued in Puno, and there were ongoing demonstrations in Cusco and Arequipa. Roadblocks continue to affect transportation in both cities; approximately 90% of roadblocks are in the south. Law enforcement attempts to clear roadblocks on the Pan American Highway have led to clashes. These roadblocks have caused isolated supply chain disruptions, but there have not been reported serious or sustained shortages of essential items.

As of January 22, Machu Picchu is indefinitely closed to tourists because of the unrest. Approximately 400 visitors were stranded, and they have been evacuated.

The Cusco airport is open but continues to experience intermittent closures due to protest activity.

The January 15 State of Emergency remains in effect. On January 25, the curfew in Puno (2000-0400) was extended for an additional ten days.

Assessment & Private-Sector Impact

Based on the escalation of protest activity in Lima over the last week, organizations should be prepared for ongoing transportation disruptions and protracted unrest. Given the rejection of President Boluarte’s call for a truce and ongoing calls for her resignation, it is likely that there is no immediate political solution that would lower levels of unrest.

Transportation disruptions, including road and airport closures, have been the primary private sector concern. Protesters have not largely targeted private sector personnel and facilities, except for those in the mining and industrial sectors. Organizations that had previously only curtailed travel to southern parts of the country should be prepared for continued transportation disruptions in Lima as well.

Airports that had experienced disruptions are reopening, although they continue to face intermittent disruptions because of unrest. Roadblocks continue to impede intra-city travel.

Protester clashes with law enforcement and perceived human rights abuses continue to be a flashpoint. Additional allegations of police using excessive force, or well-publicized incidents of protester injuries or deaths, could further escalate protests.

A vote is still planned for early March to select a rescheduled election timeline. Congress will ratify the decision to advance elections from 2026 to April 2024. This vote, especially if it cannot pass, may trigger further unrest. Security managers should also monitor open source reporting to verify the date of this vote when it is decided, as it may be moved into February.

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