“They are trapped in a hotel in Arequipa, where they arrived with great difficulty. On Saturday night, they got stuck on the Pan Americana road towards Cuzco. They were on a bus where they were stuck for 50 hours because the roads were cut by demonstrators,” Paula Rodrigues, a mother of one of the students, told Lusa.

Protests in Peru have intensified in recent days, with the blocking of roads and the occupation of the second largest airport in the country, in Arequipa, which is about 1,200 kilometres from the capital, Lima.

When the group realised that the bus would have difficulty leaving the place, the young Portuguese, together with two Danes, two Peruvians and the guide, decided to walk to the nearest village, according to Paula Rodrigues.

“They arrived at a village in the middle of the desert where they managed to get a van that allowed them to reach another village”, said the mother of a 24-year-old trapped in Peru.

Taken by surprise

When the young people arrived in Peru, they were taken by surprise by the riots caused by the ousting of the president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, arrested on charges of promoting a “coup d'état”. In Arequipa, about 2,000 protesters stormed the airport runway on Monday, suspending air traffic.

In addition to the airport blockade, demonstrations in Peru have intensified with road closures across the country in a broad popular and indigenous movement contesting Lima's political elite.

The Portuguese students had a return trip scheduled for today at 4:30pm (Lisbon time), but at that time they were still staying at a hotel in Arequipa, about 1,200 kilometres from the capital.

The young people are colleagues on a medical course at the University of Coimbra, they had finished the six-year course and had taken their final exams and as a reward they decided to take a two-week trip: One week in Rio de Janeiro and another in Peru.

On Monday they tried to contact the Portuguese embassy in Peru with whom they have been in contact, however the young people's parents are starting to get worried about not being able to guarantee a quick return.

“At the moment they are stuck in a hotel waiting for a solution to return”, said Paula Rodrigues, explaining that the idea is to get a connection to Lima and then get a flight to Europe.