- Six tourists have been accused of damaging stonework and defecating among the ruins of Machu Picchu, the 15th-century Incan citadel in Peru, according to Reuters and CNN.
- The four men and two women entered the sacred Temple of the Sun and caused a rock to fall, and one person defecated among the ruins, the outlets reported.
- Five of them have been deported and one Argentinian man who admitted to leading the vandalism remains in the country awaiting prosecution, Reuters said.
Six tourists were arrested at the Machu Picchu for allegedly defecating among the ruins and destroying stonework at the 15th-century citadel, citing Peruvian authorities.
The unnamed tourists, who were four men and two women, had come from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and France, citing authorities at the ancient site.
They were all between 20 and 32 years old. It’s not clear if they had traveled to the site together, or met there.
They had entered an area within the sacred Temple of the Sun, a semi-circular structure that had been built by the Incas to worship their Sun God.
The tourists had caused a rock to fall from a wall of the temple, and one of them defecated inside the citadel, citing local police.
Darwin Baca León, mayor of the Machupicchu district, said the group had “attacked” the UNESCO heritage site.
Five of the tourists have been deported from Peru but one Argentinian man, who admitted leading the group to vandalize the site, will remain in the country to face charges for “destroying Peru’s cultural heritage,” according to Reuters.
Millions of people visit Machu Picchu every year. Authorities in 2019 imposed a limit of selling a maximum of 2,500 tickets a day, with each visit restricted to four hours only, according to the Inca Trail Machu blog.
Last year the Peruvian government officially broke ground to build a multibillion-dollar international airport at Machu Picchu that would bring travelers straight to the ancient site.
Archaeologists, historians, and conservationists all denounced the plan, and thousands of people signed a petition to stop it. However, the government says plans to build the airport remain ongoing.