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A French term for a cooking pot, it describes the use of banging on pots and pans during a protest, which has become popularized by the Quebec student-led uprising of the Spring of 2012 (also called the Printemps D'Erable).

Involving the use of improvised noise makers, it is a reprisal of the Cacerolazo protest form, practiced in Latin American countries as a way for ordinary people to participate in an act of defiance that could be heard throughout a populated area, signaling widespread dissent. Under extremely oppressive regimes the tactic has even been used where participants stayed indoors (out of fear of reprisal), and because of the sheer numbers of people participating, a general (but difficult to localize) sound could be heard ringing throughout the towns and cities. The effect builds morale for those taking part, while undermining that of the regime and its sympathizers. 

A cacerolazo in Buenos Aires

The tactic has also been used in a more targeted way, where impromptu noise making (particularly with banging on pots and pans, but also with things like tin cans filled with coins, rocks or beans) was done at night, in areas where complicit people were trying to sleep. Examples include: targeting delegates at conferences such as the G8, G20, FTAA, WB, IMF, etc.; near the homes of the ruling classes; and marches around rich neighbourhoods.

In Montreal in late May of 2012 it has been used in particular by community members in areas through which the students and protesters have been marching, standing on their porches and banging on pots and pans from within their houses, to show that there is widespread support. The sound can be heard across the neighbourhood (8pm had been publicized as a time for many small marches to start, in what has become a nightly ritual) ringing out, and participants have described it as filling them with joy and a strong sense of solidarity.


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