Hunger Games salute becomes symbol of Thai resistance

  • AFP, Bangkok
  • Updated: Jun 03, 2014 18:18 IST

Opponents of Thailand's military coup are risking arrest by flashing the three-finger salute from the Hunger Games movies,starring Jennifer Lawrence, to defy a junta that has banned all public protests.

The gesture has become the unofficial symbol of resistance against a military regime that has suspended democracy and severely curtailed freedom of expression.

"Showing three fingers has become a symbol to call for basic political rights in a country ruled by one person as if with the most sovereign power, who is General Prayut Chan-O-Cha," Sombat Boonngamanong, a prominent activist wanted by the junta, wrote on Facebook.

Critics of the May 22 coup, including the youngest daughter of ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, has posted photographs of themselves flashing three fingers on Facebook and other social media sites.

The salute from the movie Hunger Games featuring Jennifer Lawrence. GIF source:

"Dear #HungerGames. We've taken your sign as our own. Our struggle is non-fiction," wrote one Twitter user.

In the Hunger Games movie series, the residents of a dystopian future North America -- who are forced to compete in a televised death match -- initially use the gesture to mean thanks, admiration and good-bye to someone they love. It later becomes a more general symbol of their uprising against a wealthy, totalitarian regime.

Read:Thailand's coup: all key questions answered

In Thailand some protesters say the salute is also a nod to the French revolutionary motto "liberty, equality and fraternity".

Thailand's military rulers say they are monitoring a new form of silent resistance and will arrest those in large groups who ignore warnings to lower their arms.

"If they gather as more than five people and show the symbol of three fingers then it's against the law," said army spokesman Winthai Suvaree.

But he suggested that people posting photos on the internet were unlikely to be detained, saying coup makers were "not paying any attention" to the three-finger salute by Thaksin's daughter.

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