A simple moment from the page and screen can evoke so much meaning. Once used in District 12 to show admiration, to say thank you and to say goodbye to a loved one, the three finger salute soon became the symbol for rebellion in the Districts during the uprising. Now, not only in Panem’s Districts does the three finger salute fight oppression, but also in Thailand after a military coup and martial law were declared, the salute is now being used by protesters.
At anti coup rallies people have been seen using the salute, as well as in protest flash mobs organised on social media.
“They materialize suddenly, by the dozens, raising a three-finger salute toward the sky,” the Global Post says describing the demonstrators. “Then they vanish as quickly as they appear, melting into crowds to evade scores of armed troops and police.”
The protesters said on Sunday for them the salute means liberty, brotherhood and equality.
Pretty powerful show of unity! We think Katniss would be proud.
UPDATED: 6/3/14, 9:41 pm ET
In a move consistent with the Capitol, Thailand’s Military Rulers have now in essence band the use of the 3 finger salute.
“At this point we are monitoring the movement,” said Colonel Weerachon Sukhondhapatipak, a spokesman for the ruling junta. “If it is an obvious form of resistance, then we have to control it so it doesn’t cause any disorder in the country.”
“We know it comes from the movie, and let’s say it represents resistance against the authorities,” Weerachon said, noting that if authorities encounter the salute they will first ask protesters to stop.
“If a single individual raises three fingers in the air, we are not going to arrest him or her,” he told the Associated Press. “But if it is a political gathering of five people or more, then we will have to take some action.”
“If it persists, then we will have to make an arrest,” he said.
This hasn’t stopped the protesters by any means..
“Raising three fingers has become a symbol in calling for fundamental political rights,” wrote Sombat, a member of the “Red Shirt” protest movement that had backed the now-ousted government and warned it would take action if there was a coup. He called on people to raise “3 fingers, 3 times a day” in public places where there is no police or military presence.
“Let’s escalate the anti-coup movement three times a day together,” he said, stipulating that protesters should raise their right arm and stay still for 30 seconds.
I can’t help but wonder what Suzanne Collins thinks about how her symbol of both thanks and defiance has taken on a life of it’s own in the real world. Life is truly imitating art.
Sources: The Guardian, The Global Post, Quartz Update source: The Guardian (Thanks to Ronnie for the tip!)