Like Katniss Everdeen and co., who use the salute in the Suzanne Collins novels and films -- most recently in last year's "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" -- as a silent show of defiance against the tyrannical government of Panem, Thai protestors have appropriated the signal at recent demonstrations, which came to a head this past weekend. Hundreds gathered at protests organized through social media, and were met by hundreds of police officers; the events culminated in several arrests, including that of one woman who was dragged into a taxi by police after giving authorities the salute.
Though it seems like an odd choice for a real-life demonstration, Quartz explains that the gesture has already adopted a specific significance for its users.
"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," Quartz writes. "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."
The Thai military seized control of the country late last month, and shut down its television broadcasts. The military had also threatened to cut off access to the internet, though protestors' continued use of social media indicates that those were perhaps empty threats. Either way, it seems that demonstrators' comparisons of Thailand's military to the fictional government in Panem may not be that far off.
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