Students Arrested for Flashing Salute from ‘Hunger Games’ in Political Protest

A three-fingered salute was popularized in “The Hunger Games” series, as a symbol of resistance against oppressive regimes. Now, university students in Thailand have been detained after using the salute to express opposition to the nation’s military-led rule.

“The Hunger Games” series has become a rallying point for protestors in Thailand—a country filled with political unrest and frequent military coups. In the series, Katniss Everdeen becomes a leader and a symbol of revolution against the tyrannical military government of The Capitol. She uses the three-finger salute as a symbol to rally the support and solidarity of the people of Panem against the oppressive government.

Because of the parallels between the series and the Thai rulers, student activists from Bangkok University—and from all over Thailand—have taken inspiration from various elements of the series to use as the focal point of their political protests.

According to a CNN report, while all of the detained students were eventually released—officials chose to station about 100 police and military troops by the cinema where the latest installment of the franchise “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” was about to premier.

When questioned about the arrests made because of the salute—and because of rumored protest meetings related to the blockbuster franchise—officials said in a statement that the “military is working on reducing conflicts from various political groups.”

The spokesperson said that allowing any political statements were inflammatory, and could risk raising tensions and causing unrest in the country.

Major General Sansern Kaewkumnerd told CNN:

“Seeing a movie is a personal thing, and they all have the right to do that. But if, after seeing the movie, there are political activities involved, this is prohibited by martial law, which has been imposed since military intervention. If we allow one group to hold political activities, then (other) groups would want to do the same thing. We would never achieve peace and order, which we are trying to restore.”