Five students in military-led Thailand have been detained for flashing the anti-establishment, three-finger salute from the Hollywood film series The Hunger Games at the country’s prime minister.
All five students were taken into custody after they flashed The Hunger Games-inspired salute at Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha when he was speaking at an event in the northeastern province of Khon Kaen, explains BBC. They wore t-shirts with the words “Don’t want a military coup.”
Gen. Prayuth led the coup that made him prime minister in August.
“Seeing a movie is a personal thing, and they all have a right to do that,” Thailand’s Maj. Gen. Sansern Kaewkumnerd told CNN. “But if, after seeing the movie, there are political activities involved, this is prohibited by martial law, which has been imposed since (last May’s) 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,” he added.
The CNN article notes that “there’s little indication the opposition is going away, nor is there anything like national elections on the immediate horizon suggesting a return to civilian rule.”
Characters in The Hunger Games film and book trilogy use the three-finger salute as a sign of silent protest against a totalitarian regime. The gesture became popular after the Thai coup. Thai authorities warned they would detain anyone in a large crowd who flashed the salute and refused to stop when ordered.
The students were released by Thursday evening, CNN reports.