Anti-coup activists in Thailand are using the three-finger salute featured in "The Hunger Games" franchise as a silent symbol of resistance, as the military is closely monitoring the situation and has banned any sort of protest against the coup.
Photos of protesters using the three-finger salute have been doing the rounds on social media, and now the military is considering a crackdown on the salute, reports indicated.
The three-finger salute emerged as a peaceful symbol of resistance after the junta severely curtailed freedom of expression. Since the bloodless coup on May 22, the junta has shut down several websites that have criticised the coup, and it has also prohibited political gatherings.
"[The National Council for Peace and Order] must look at their intention, what they want to communicate and surrounding circumstances," Army deputy spokesman Colonel Winthai Suwaree was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post.
But on Sunday, one woman was taken into custody during a protest and her arm was waving the three fingers, reported one Thai paper, according to Market Watch.
The protestors, consisting of people from all walks of life and social strata have varying interpretations for the symbol. While one section believes it stands for liberty, equality, fraternity, others say the three fingers represent freedom, election and democracy.
But in "The Hunger Games" franchise, it stands for thanks, admiration, and good-bye.
"It is an old and rarely used gesture of our district, occasionally seen at funerals. It means thanks, it means admiration, it means good-bye to someone you love," Katniss Everdeen says in the first book.
But as the story progresses, the symbol takes on a different meaning; it becomes the silent voice of revolution. And now, protestors in Thailand want the symbol to represent their distress.
"Raising three fingers has become a symbol in calling for fundamental political rights," anti-coup activist Sombat Boonngam-anong reportedly wrote on his Facebook page, and called for people to raise "3 fingers, 3 times a day."
— อาหมวยตระกูลชอง (@pengein_chung) May 22, 2014
Meanwhile, the Bangkok Post's Atiya Achakulwisut noted that it would be best if Thai army chief General Prayut Chan-O-Cha did not take any action against people using the three-finger salute.
Achakulwisut pointed out that in "The Hunger Games", what triggered the revolution was not necessarily the salute, but the public execution of a man who responded to the sign. And as "Mockingjay" show, no power can stop a rebellion against a brutal dictatorship, wrote Achakulwisut.