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Cacerolazo is the name of a popular form of protest that consists in a group of people creating noise by banging pots, pans and other utensils in order to call for attention.
The word comes from Spanish cacerola, which means "stew pot". The derivative suffix -azo denotes a hitting (punching or striking) action, and has been extended metaphorically to any sort of shock demonstration.
The term cacerolazo in the above sense was first used in Argentina during 2001, as the colloquial name of the protests and demonstrations of the middle-class people who had seen their savings trapped in the so-called corralito (a set of restrictive economic measures that effectively froze all bank accounts, initially as a short-term fix for the massive draining of bank deposits). The corralito meant that many people who needed a large amount of cash immediately, or who simply lived off the interests from their deposits, suddenly found their savings unavailable. As court appeals were slow and ineffective, people resorted to protest in the streets.
As the Argentine peso quickly devalued and foreign currency fled the country, the government decreed a forced conversion of dollar-denominated accounts into pesos at an arbitrary exchange rate of 1.4 pesos per dollar. At this point the unavailability of cash for people trapped in the corralito compounded with the continuous loss of value of their savings, and the unresponsiveness of the appeal authorities (minor courts and the Supreme Court itself) further angered the protestors.