Catching Fire

Thai coup protesters have adopted the Hunger Games’ three-fingered salute

June 2, 2014
June 2, 2014

At demonstrations against Thailand’s military government continued this weekend, protesters unveiled their newest tactic: Appropriating the three-fingered salute from the Hunger Games, which the movies’ downtrodden citizens use as a silent rebuke to their dystopian government.

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“I volunteer as tribute!”Reuters/Erik De Castro

Ever since the Thai military seized power last month, protesters have been using social media to organize hit-and-run demonstrations in Bangkok, and on Sunday they made a last-minute change of venue, gathering at the downtown shopping district’s Terminal 21 mall. They were opposed by hundreds of soldiers and police, who have mobilized at possible protest sites around the city to pre-empt large-scale demonstrations. At least four people were arrested, including one woman who was dragged into a taxi by undercover police after giving the three-finger salute.

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Thai soldiers guard on an overpass to prevent anti-coup demonstration in Bangkok, Thailand.
Not in a Hunger Games kind of mood.AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn

Thais are avid consumers of pop culture, including the Hunger Games movies, so it’s not surprising that they have chosen to use the salute favored by cinematic heroine Katniss Everdeen. Adding to the cultural mash-up, protesters on Sunday said the three fingers stand for liberty, brotherhood, and equality—a slogan associated with the French Revolution that is now the official motto of France.

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Anti-coup protesters wear paper bags with messages written on them as they flash a three-finger sign during a protest at a shopping mall in Bangkok
Cat, or Katniss?REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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