Protesters in Thailand have been seen adopting the 3-fingered salute from the film “Hunger Games” as a mark of silent defiance against the military government. Thai officials are reportedly considering arresting citizens who make the three-finger salute.
Photos of Thai protesters raising three fingers in protesters have taken social media by storm under the hashtag #ThaiCoup. One activist tweeted a photo of himself making the salute, claiming to be inspired by the Hollywood film.
— Manik Sethisuwan (@ManikSethisuwan) June 1, 2014
The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Suzanne Collins which is set in a dystopian future where adolescents are forced to fight to the death in yearly “Hunger Games” to entertain the population of the fictional state of Panam. The three-finger gesture is used in the film as a show of defiance against Panam’s authoritarian rulers.
However, there is some divergence in the meaning of the salute in Thailand. Thai newspaper the Bangkok post writes that the three fingers stand for the slogan of the French Revolution – liberty, equality and brotherhood.
Either way, the gesture is quickly becoming adopted as a symbol of silent protest against the military leaders who took control of Thailand in a coup on May 22, banning protests and instituting martial law.
Defying the ban, thousands of people took to the streets over the weekend, calling for democratic elections. Many of the protesters made the three-fingered salute and one woman was detained for making the gesture at police, the Bangkok Post reported.
Army deputy spokesman Colonel Winthai Suwaree, for the military’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), says the junta is currently looking into whether it should classify the gesture as a sign of protest and therefore a criminal offense under the ban.
“[The NCPO] must look at their intention, what they want to communicate and surrounding circumstances,” Winthai said.
The unrest in Thailand has been going on for the last several months and began with mass protests calling for the resignation of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. She has since been detained by the junta and remains in custody along with hundreds of political activists.
Yingluck’s lawyer has decried the military coup as “illegal” and warned it could lead to a dangerous power divide.