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Machu Picchu tourists told to stay clothed

AFP-JIJI

Peru has boosted surveillance at popular archaeological sites to counter a new trend of tourists taking nude photos at Machu Picchu.

Tourists have been posting the shots on blogs, prompting a statement from the Cultural Ministry rejecting “any disrespectful act committed by visitors” to historical sites.

Police most recently detained four male tourists — two Australians and two Canadians — for several hours Wednesday after filming and taking nude photos at Machu Picchu.

The ministry called on visitors to help protect the historical sites and to “be alert to this kind of attitude that’s solely aimed at getting attention.”

Authorities are also worried over a recent spate of graffiti attacks.

A week ago, the famous 12-Angle Stone — an example of intricate Inca masonry and design — was hit with spray paint, police said. The suspect has been linked to several other attacks on archaeological sites, they added.

“Although there are new techniques for erasing, the paint used could leave irreversible consequences for the most important stone in the Inca Roca palace,” a spokesman from the ministry in Cusco said.

Ricardo Ruiz Caro, head of the ministry, told reporters that in the first three months of this year, four similar incidents have been recorded, adding to 33 last year.