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

Davi Kopenawa, the leader of the Yanomami people in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest, who is internationally renowned for his struggle against encroachment on indigenous land by landowners and illegal mi

Cooperative Home Care Associates has 2,300 workers who enjoy good wages, regular hours and family health insurance.

In the past three years, 22 U.S. companies have relocated through mergers with or purchases of a foreign company, enabling them to escape American corporate tax laws. Learn how they're getting away with it.

11% of business leaders in Britain think that modern slavery is taking place somewhere within their company’s production of goods. Will the Modern Slavery Bill make a dent?

The Blair Mountain Battlefield was the scene of a 5-day clash in September 1921 between more than 5,000 West Virginia coal miners and 3,000 men backed by coal companies – the largest armed labor conflict in US history.

If we want a healthy society that follows its laws and applies them equally to everyone, we must demand a full investigation and criminal prosecutions for everyone involved in the mortgage backed securities fiasco.

Posted 5 days 6 hours ago

The vote on Independence is a moment of unprecedented possibility for Scotland to peacefully reject the U.K.'s failed neoliberal agenda.

Posted 4 days 11 hours ago

FarmDrop and Open Food Network stress the desire to create positive, systemic social change that disrupts the existing dominance of supermarket provision of food.

Posted 4 days 11 hours ago

On Sept. 7, people will host screenings of “Disruption" ahead of the People's Climate March - in living rooms and libraries, on campuses and in community centers, all across the country.

Posted 4 days 11 hours ago

Borrowers with federal student loans appear to be buckling under the weight of their debt, as more than half of Direct Loans – the most common type of federal student loan – aren't being repaid on time or as expected.

Posted 6 days 14 hours ago

Dan Bellini, originally a full-time professional blues musician who jammed with the likes of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddly, B.B. King and many others, is now a freelance muralist, painter and activist.

As chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the California senator generates an abundance of fog, weasel words, anti-whistleblower slander and bogus notions of reform — while methodically stabbing civil liberties in the back.

Highlighting Erosion of Free Speech, Kai Newkirk of 99Rise crashed the Supreme Court, and got arrested for it.

Not only do the FBI and Secret Service have standing authority to jam cellphone signals, but they along with state and local authorities can also push for the shutdown of cell towers.

Matt Harrison, one of many U.S. Army Band musicians being dis-enrolled due to the federal shutdown, says Congress's decisions are based entirely on self-interest.

Sign Up