EFELa Paz

La Paz this Monday is trying to stock up on food, which is growing scarce in the markets to the point that the municipal government is organizing sales to avoid exaggerated price increases, and on fuel, which Bolivia's self-proclaimed interim government says it will import from Chile and Peru.

The municipality organized points of sale for butchered poultry at a price of roughly $5 each, in coordination with the Rural Development Ministry.

These shops will operate all week and it is hoped that beef will start arriving by next Saturday, according to a municipality report.

The owner of a butcher's shop in the Andean city, who prefers to just be known as Alba, told Efe that "we have nothing now," in reference to the empty shelves and refrigerators of her business.

"We have to go out and get the bread every day," she complained about the losses her business is suffering because of the shortages.

Prices on some of the basic food products have risen over the past few days in La Paz, a city of close to 1 million inhabitants that mostly depends on deliveries by road from other parts of the country, though some highways have been blocked for days by protests after President Evo Morales stepped down under pressure from the armed forces.

The municipality announced that its officials will establish control over the markets to prevent price-gouging.

In addition, the garbage trucks don't have enough gasoline and trash piles up next to the overflowing trash cans in the streets, since the pick-up service is limited. Meanwhile, the city government has asked the locals not to put out any more rubbish until the service gets back to normal.

Bolivia's acting Productive Development and Pluralistic Economy Minister Wilfredo Rojo posted on Twitter that cargo aircraft connections have been set up to ensure the supply of basic food products for La Paz and neighboring El Alto.

The head of the Bolivian Senate, Eva Copa, told the media in La Paz that "everything in a family's daily diet has gone up," and besides that, "there is no gasoline, so we have to walk everywhere on foot."

Interim Hydrocarbons Minister Victor Hugo Zamora said the arrival of tanker trucks is planned from Chile and Peru to stock up the gas stations without causing an inordinate rise in prices.

At the same time, protests keep blocking refineries like Senkata's in El Alto, where Morales partisans demand the resignation of right-wing Sen. Jeanine Añez, who proclaimed herself president last week in a near-empty legislative chamber.

Añez is accused of having "delivered a coup to democracy," referring to allegations that the Oct. 20 election was marred by fraud and to the fact that she secured court authorization to run for a fourth term in office after voters had narrowly rejected that possibility in a referendum.

Amid protests against the election result, Morales agreed to an audit of the vote by the Organization of American States (OAS).

The OAS released its findings on Nov. 10, saying that there had been a "clear manipulation" of the process and calling for a new election to be held.

Morales immediately agreed to a new vote but was forced to resign hours later after losing the support of the army and police; the opposition, meanwhile, initially said it would not accept the results of the OAS audit but then touted its findings.

More than a score of people have died in protests since the elections, while upwards of 700 more have been wounded.

Nine fatalities occurred in a single incident last Friday when police and soldiers opened fire on Morales supporters marching toward the city of Cochabamba. EFE lar/cd