Protests erupted in Peru late last week with people calling for the resignation of President Dina Boluarte and freedom for Pedro Castillo who was ousted from the presidency last week.
There have been violent clashes with police as protesters call for immediate general elections.
And caught in the middle of it all are two Victoria men who are in Peru on vacation.
“People started yelling in Spanish to ‘get the hell out’ and I was like ‘I think we really need to go and it was like just run, leave this place,'” said Maxime Vandal of Victoria.
A third Canadian, Tara Yurychuck joined the two men and they are holed up in a hostel in the city of Arequipa after trying to get to the airport on a bus Monday.
“So when we first came on the bus they were bringing anything from cinder blocks to chunks of sidewalk and throwing them in the street to try and stop us and then they were dragging out tires constantly and they were lighting them on fire in the middle of the street,” said Evan Helgason-Thorp of Victoria.
Yurychuck describes the experience as being in a ‘fight or flight’ mode adding it seemed like protestors were yelling at them in Spanish to join them and their cause.
“As we come up to the airport there’s just one long big road and you can’t really turn off left or right and we saw the protesters coming up the street holding a big Peruvian flag and we kind of made the decision we have to run and get to a side street or we’d be in the middle of the protest,” added Yurychuck.
They’ve contracted the Canadian Embassy and have been told them to just find a safe place for the time being.
“So we went out and got a bunch of food and water and the hostel has a bunch of food and water as well so that’s not really a concern of ours,” said Helgason-Thorp.
Helgason-Thorp has been through something like this before and his dad back in Victoria says it’s now just a matter of time for the airport to re-open.
“We’ve been through this before in Thailand in 2014 so we just shelter in place when it’s safe and when the Constabulary has taken back the airport then he can get moving,” stated his father Simon Thorp.
There’s no indication tonight when the Arequipa Airport will re-open.