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East Tennessee family returns to U.S. from Peru after being stuck due to protests and national emergency

The President of Peru's ouster led to days of deadly protests in the South American country.

MACHU PICCHU PUEBLO, Peru — UPDATE (Dec. 19): Hundreds of Americans are stuck in Peru as deadly protests continue, following the President's ouster. 

Cassie Halley, from Maryville, is in Machu Picchu, Peru, was on vacation and was stuck without transportation. As of Monday, she and her family had safely returned to the U.S.

Halley said she and her family arrived in Lima, the Capital of Peru, around two weeks ago. While they were there, Halley said President Castillo of Peru was impeached. 

The President of Peru was ousted after trying to dissolve the Parliament. Violent protests erupted, and the country declared a 30-day national emergency. 

The Associated Press reports at least 20 people have died in the protests and more than 500 have been injured. 

Halley said she caught the last train to Machu Picchu because it was safer than Lima. 

"Usually, they let 4,500 people in a day to Machu Picchu, and I counted 9 other people there the 2 days that we were there," Halley said. "That was really incredible, but we've been stuck here in Machu Picchu since Wednesday."

Halley said she was trying to get out of Machu Picchu, via helicopter, but the weather has prevented choppers from running. 

The trains in Peru are down, too, so nobody is able to get in and out of Machu Picchu, Halley said.

She said her tour group was trying to get them back to Cusco, Peru, so they could get a flight out. 

“The Government of Peru is organizing an evacuation via four helicopters of the most vulnerable foreign tourists from Aguas Calientes/ Machu Picchu Village," the U.S. Embassy in Lima said. 

The Embassy said the airport in Cusco is open and flights are moving. 

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