Hunger Games 3-finger sign not welcome in Thailand

November 22, 2014

(Police stand inside the theatre in Bangkok where two student activists were arrested in connection with the showing of ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Photo by Pattarachai Prechapanich)

If there was any evidence needed that symbols from films travel fast, the Bangkok Post reports that on Thursday 20 November three students outside two Bangkok theatres. They were released without charges, but in the meantime the discussion had already started. On Friday Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand said he felt unthreatened by The Hunger Games’ three-fingered protest against totalitarian rule, but nonetheless warned people against using it. “I don’t know whether it is illegal or not but it could jeopardise their futures,” Gen Prayut told reporters at Government House. “I appreciate their courage but they should use their courage in the right ways”.

His comments came as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Southeast Asia criticised the authorities for a recent spate of instances in which people were led away for questioning after making the salute that has become a symbol of defiance for anti-coup protesters. The United Nations on Friday criticised the country’s military leaders for arresting students flashing the signature protest gesture from The Hunger Games while the film’s makers said they are concerned for the young activists. Director of  The Hunger Games, Francis Lawrence, felt honoured that the film has become an inspiration but added: “My goal is not for kids to be out there doing things that are getting them arrested,” (in a Friday interview with Buzzfeed). “”In a sense, part of it is an honour that there (are) ideas in the movies that we’re making that (have) become so important to people that they are willing to risk something and use that symbol,” he continued. “But it’s so scary.”

I didn’t want to punish [the students] so they were merely reprimanded, released and told not to do it again because it’s of no benefit to anyone,” Gen Prayut told reporters. The general also denied any role in Apex’s decision to pull the film from its Scala and Lido theatres.

Three-finger fallout continues | Bangkok Post: news.

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