Thai Protesters Embrace Hunger Games' Three-Fingered Salute



If I say the phrases Hunger Games and "life imitates art" in the same sentence, you might start to worry. But this is actually an inspiring appropriation of the practices of Panem. In Thailand, anti-coup protesters have adopted the three-fingered salute used by Hunger Games' downtrodden, dystopian-future citizens to express disapproval of their government.

In late May, Thai army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha and supporters took over the country, detaining current political leaders, declaring martial law, shutting down international television broadcasts, and imposing a national curfew. Chan-ocha was declared "Prime Minister". Since then, anti-coup protesters have been demonstrating in Bangkok and on social media. 

On Sunday, protesters gathered at the downtown Bangkok shopping mall Terminal 21—along with a swarm of Thai soldiers and police there to deter them. But the demonstration went down without violence, though at least four people were arrested, according to Thai newspaper Prachatai. Among these was a woman named Pairin Paungsiri, who was dragged off in an undercover cop car while raising the three-finger salute out the window. 

"Thais are avid consumers of pop culture, including the Hunger Games movies," Quartz notes, "so it's not surprising that they have chosen to use the salute favored by cinematic heroine Katniss Everdeen."

Post-modernizing things a little further, the protesters said the three raised fingers stand for "liberty, brotherhood, and equality"—France's national motto with roots in the French Revolution. 

Steve Herman (@W7VOA)/Twitter
Nirmal Ghosh (@karmanomad)/Twitter