Maria Esther Roa was fuming. A powerful lawmaker had, once again, escaped punishment for his misdeeds. But standing outside of Congress in Paraguay’s capital, Asunción, in early August of last year, Ms. Roa hatched an unconventional plan to bring some measure of accountability to the powerful. It involved pots, pans, dozens of eggs and lots of toilet paper — and it would inspire a nationwide grass-roots crusade against corruption in this tiny South American nation, the International New York Times reported.

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