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Hunger Games' three-finger salute used to oppose coup in Thailand

中国日报网 2014-06-05 14:44

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

Thailand's military rulers say they are monitoring the new form of opposition to the coup.Reporters witnessed the phenomenon and people 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 "3fingers, 3 times a day" - at 9 am, 1 pm and 5 pm - in safe public places where no police or military were present.

The gesture emerged over the weekend as protesters joined small flash mobs, or stood alone, raising three fingers in the air.

"We know it comes from the movie, and let's say it represents resistance against the authorities," said Weerachon Sukhondhapatipak, a spokesman for the junta.

"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.

"If it persists, then we will have to make an arrest," he said.

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 and fraternity. Others said it meant 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.

The Hunger Games films have been popular in Thailand, but not unusually so. The lastest film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, made $3.3 million last year, which ranked eighth among2013 releases. The 2012 film The Hunger Games made $2.1 million, ranking 17th that year.

A spokesman for the film distributor Lions Gate said the company was aware of the Thai protest but had no comment.

(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

About the broadcaster:

Lance Crayon is a videographer and editor with China Daily. Since living in Beijing he has worked for China Radio International (CRI) and Global Times. Before moving to China he worked in the film industry in Los Angeles as a talent agent and producer. He has a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Arlington.

 

 

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