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The Hunger Games movies have become a symbol of covert defiance and political expression for protestors in Thailand against the military junta running the country. The newest film opened at the box office this week, and by the end of its first day, three activists had been arrested and the Deputy Prime Minister had to get involved.
Shortly after the Thai army staged a coup d’état on May 22—the 12th successful coup in the past century—protesters began flashing the three-finger salute seen in the Hunger Games to show their opposition to the military takeover. Characters in the Hollywood blockbuster also raise the salute as an act of rebellion against an authoritarian regime, but as anti-coup activists in Thailand will tell you, the struggle here is quite real.
Since seizing power, Thailand’s military government has banned all political protests and criticism of the regime.
On Wednesday, three student activists were arrested during their effort to organize a mass viewing of the movie’s latest instalment [sic], The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I, which opened in theaters across Thailand.