Hunger Games Salute Being Used to Protest Thai Military Coup

Search form

Hunger Games Salute Being Used to Protest Thai Military Coup

Hunger Games Salute Being Used to Protest Thai Military Coup
Fri, 6/6/2014
This article originally appeared on Associated Press

The three-finger salute from the Hollywood movie “The Hunger Games” is being used as a real symbol of resistance in Thailand. Protesters against the military coup are flashing the gesture as a silent act of rebellion, and they’re being threatened with arrest if they ignore warnings to stop.

Thailand’s military rulers said Tuesday they were monitoring the new form of opposition to the May 22 coup. Reporters witnessed the phenomenon and individuals were captured on film making the raised-arm salute.

“Raising three fingers has become a symbol in calling for fundamental political rights,” said anti-coup activist Sombat Boonngam-anong on his Facebook page. He called on people to raise “3 fingers, 3 times a day” — at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. — in safe public places where no police or military are present.

Since staging its bloodless coup, the military has prohibited political gatherings of more than five people and tried to enforce a ban on criticism of the coup by closing politically affiliated television stations and blocking hundreds of websites.

On Sunday, authorities deployed nearly 6,000 soldiers and police in Bangkok to prevent planned protests against the coup. Amid the heavy security, small flash mobs appeared in a central shopping district where the salute was unveiled for the first time.

"At this point we are monitoring the movement," said Colonel Weerachon Sukhondhapatipak, a spokesman for the ruling junta.

"If it is an obvious form of resistance, then we have to control it so it doesn't cause any disorder in the country. We know it comes from the movie, and let’s say it represents resistance against the authorities.

“If a single individual raises three fingers in the air, we are not going to arrest him or her,” he said. “But if it is a political gathering of five people or more, then we will have to take some action.”

In “The Hunger Games” movie series and book trilogy, the salute symbolizes rebellion against totalitarian rule, signifying thanks, admiration and goodbye to a loved one. But Thai protesters gave varying explanations. Some cited the French Revolution’s trinity of values: liberty, equality, fraternity. Others said it means freedom, election and democracy.

A photo montage circulating online paired a picture from “The Hunger Games” with a graphic of three fingers labeled, 1. No Coup, 2. Liberty, 3. Democracy.

While the strife-imitating-art nature of the phenomenon is extraordinary, it’s not unprecedented. Other examples of pop culture symbols being used to express political sentiments include Occupy protesters wearing the Guy Fawkes mask from the “V for Vendetta” movie.

The practice of tying a yellow ribbon as a symbol of support for hostages, missing soldiers or prisoners was popularized in part by the song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” that topped the charts in 1973.

Human Rights Watch’s Asia director Brad Adams decried the junta’s threat against the peaceful salute, saying that the “Thai military’s assault on basic human rights has apparently grown to not only target peaceful protesters, but now also silent ones as well — since now just holding up an arm with a three-finger salute is enough to earn the junta’s ire.”

Originally published by Associated Press

Article Tabs

Protesters in Hong Kong on Tuesday ignored calls from the region’s chief executive to abandon pro-democracy demonstrations as numbers grew on the eve of a public holiday.

How do politicians who are unresponsive to the interests of the vast majority of their constituents get elected and, more important, re-elected, while doing the bidding mostly of the wealthiest individuals?

The City Council voted 12 to 3 last Wednesday to impose the higher wage on large hotels, delivering a huge victory to a coalition of organized labor, neighborhood councils and the ACLU.

The U.K. government recently removed 23 passports of citizens attempting to travel to Syria and is increasingly seeking to take action on terror suspects who are already abroad.

School districts nationwide are debating whether to keep their Pentagon-issued arsenals.

KathyJo Torrenga and her husband decided to challenge their foreclosure on their own, learning as much as they could about mortgage securitization and the damages caused by it.

Posted 5 days 6 hours ago

Americans need to say no now to this new scheme, lest we allow the past mortgage crisis to become a current rent fiasco.

Posted 6 days 23 hours ago

2014 is on pace to be the Year of Dark Money.

Posted 5 days 5 hours ago

A publicly-owned bank could help Scotland take control of its own economic destiny by avoiding unnecessary debt to a private banking system that's become a burden to the economy.

Posted 5 days 5 hours ago

This Acronym TV report from the Flood Wall Street day of action features exclusive footage, analysis and interviews with people at the heart of the movement.

Posted 5 days 5 hours ago

Government documents declassified after the passage of the JFK Records Act in 1992 provide overwhelming evidence implicating the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies as well as top military officials and corporate entities in the president's assassination.

A strategy meeting in Amsterdam became a critical milestone for the convergence of different European social movements on the frontlines of resistance against the neoliberal E.U. austerity regime in 2014.

Carrying Student Loans? Prepare to Pay With Your Social Security

Thanks to Congress, your student loan debt can be extracted from your Social Security checks. Lawmakers are scrambling to find the money to prevent an impending interest rate hike. Will the student loan bubble pop like the housing and financial bubbles did?

The family of Israel Hernandez, an 18-year-old graffiti artist killed Tuesday by police taser in Miami Beach, has called for an independent investigation.

Move to Amend Wins Big at the Ballot Box

Citizens throughout the country voted overwhelmingly for their legislators to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

Sign Up