Deputy PM brushes off ‘Hunger Games’ resistance symbol as scouts’ salute

PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times

The 3 finger gesture used by pro-democracy protesters is probably better known as the “Hunger Games” salute. Just like in the popular film franchise, the gesture is being used by protesters in Thailand as a symbol of ‘resistance’ against the government. While it has been used by Thai activists for years, recently crowds of high school students used the gesture at their daily flag ceremonies at school assembly.

Some conservative voices are expressing concern for the students use of the anti-government salute, but Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon has brushed the issue off, saying the gesture is just the salute used by the National Scout Organisation of Thailand (and around the world). Scouts typically use 3 fingers placed by their forehead, similar to a military salute.

“Oh. Scouts… scouts,” Wongsuwon said when asked about the 3 finger salutes used by protesters, according to the Bangkok Post.

The Post says Wongsuwon was then reminded about how many use the salute as an anti-government symbol. The Deputy PM responded by saying he was worried about the student protesters and that the meaning behind the symbol should be explained to them so they understand. When asked if the salute is acceptable, he refrained to answer.

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The 3 finger salute is being used by protesters, and some opposition MPs, calling for democracy since 2014 when PM Prayut Chan-o-cha seized power in a military coup under the NCPO (National Council for Peace and Order). On Monday, it was used again by high school students at 8 schools during the morning flag raising ceremony.

“I want to show that I don’t like dictatorship and want true democracy” – 17 year old student.

While photos show crowds of students holding their hand up in the salute, the Thai PM speculated that some students were pressured and bullied into participating by their peers.

“That is dangerous. Some people do not want to participate. I would like everyone to be rational.”

The Hunger Games movies featured a young woman who came from a small village, fighting oppression of a totalitarian government, by participating in elaborate ‘games’ for the amusement of the ‘elite’.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Reuters

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Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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