Thailand's anti-coup protesters adopt 'The Hunger Games' salute


Asia Correspondent

Protesters demonstrating against the coup in Thailand are taking inspiration from Hollywood. The three-fingered salute that featured in The Hunger Games movies has been adopted by those trying to persuade the troops to return to their barracks.

The small groups of protesters who have been appearing in locations across Bangkok and elsewhere in the country have been making the symbol at the troops. Others have been posting images on social media.

In the aftermath of the coup launched two weeks ago, the junta detained hundreds of people, including the leaders of the Red Shirt movement that had largely supported the ousted government. Most have been released, though on the condition they avoid political activities.

In an absence of senior leaders, the opposition to the coup has been organising “flash” protests, arranged on social media and springing up in places the troops had not expected. The salute from The Hunger Games has added a symbolically powerful element to the protesters’ arsenal.

The junta says it is aware of the sign being made at the troops and its origin in Hollywood. The army has warned that if people are caught making the salute at a protest or rally they could be detained.

“We know it comes from the movie, and let’s say it represents resistance against the authorities,” Col Weerachon Sukhondhapatipak, a spokesman for the junta, which has called itself the National Council for Peace and Order, told The Associated Press.

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

Two weeks after he seized power, army chief Gen General Prayuth Chan Ocha has said there will be no fresh elections for at least 15 months. He said the country first needs to go through a period of political reform and “reconciliation”. The country’s interim government will likely be appointed, not elected.

In the meantime, the junta has launched a full-scale propaganda war, trying to persuade people that the military is on their side. Though it has been censoring the media, detaining protesters and threatening users of social media, it has also been providing free haircuts, meals and musical concerts.

Quite how the international community will react to the Thai army’s actions remains to be seen. Australia has cancelled several military engagements and placed a travel ban on senior members of the junta.

While Britain and other members of the EU have denounced the coup and called for new elections, there has been no word yet on what restrictions might be imposed. A spokesperson for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London said in a statement: “We are currently considering what measures the UK might take, alone and in concert with partners.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk