Hunger Games Salute Becomes a Real Sign of Dissent in ‘Tyrannical’ Thailand

Goodness. Is this real life, or is this fantasy? To think a fantasy novel reference can become a very real symbol used by people in the real world.

TIME

If life does imitate art, Thais may have reason to worry. The Southeast Asian nation’s ruling junta is pondering whether to officially ban the three-fingered “District 12” salute from TheHunger Games, now that is has become an emotionally charged symbol of resistance among opponents of the May 22 military coup.

Already, scores of those proffering the salute during weekend street protests have been dragged off by troops, in scenes eerily reminiscent of the Suzanne Collins novels and movie franchise, which depict a dystopian future society ruled by the totalitarian Panem regime.

Thai army deputy spokesman Colonel Winthai Suwaree told the Bangkok Post that the military top brass are discussing how best to respond to the barbed gesture. “[The junta] must look at [the protester’s] intention, what they want to communicate and surrounding circumstances,” he said.

Thais have reason to be apprehensive. In May 2010, more than 90 people…

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