What ‘The Hunger Games’ Three-Finger Salute Means to Protesters Across Asia

Joseph B. Hash

SINGAPORE—As protests towards a Feb. 1 military services coup have gripped Myanmar, one image has emerged as an icon: the three-finger salute. Civil servants on strike, university student protesters, even refugees dwelling overseas have designed the gesture in a exhibit of defiance. The signal has an unlikely origin story, popularized […]

SINGAPORE—As protests towards a Feb. 1 military services coup have gripped Myanmar, one image has emerged as an icon: the three-finger salute. Civil servants on strike, university student protesters, even refugees dwelling overseas have designed the gesture in a exhibit of defiance.

The signal has an unlikely origin story, popularized in the wake of a different coup, in 2014, in neighboring Thailand. Protesters there borrowed it from the literary and film sequence “The Starvation Games,” in which it is revealed as a image for a fictional uprising towards tyrannical overlords. Photographs of political activist Rittipong Mahapetch—flashing the signal at a active Bangkok intersection towards the backdrop of a pedestrian overpass crowded with soldiers—went viral just more than a week immediately after the Thai coup.

The spread of the salute exhibits how the region’s youth-led actions towards authoritarianism, observing their individual struggles reflected overseas, have appeared to one an additional for procedures, support and momentum as they encounter impressive opponents. Hong Kong’s decentralized protests towards Chinese handle turned a design for modern Thai democracy demonstrators, who have for months challenged their country’s military services-backed institution. The hashtag #MilkTeaAlliance emerged as an on line campaign as a result of which Asian activists from Taiwan to Myanmar exhibit solidarity with each individual other.

The governments they stand towards are learning from each individual other, way too, analysts and historians say.

“Activists are seeing each individual other and hoping to get ideas from each individual other, but at the very same time authoritarian states are seeing one an additional and hoping to borrow their tips,” stated Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a professor of history at College of California, Irvine and author of the book “Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink.”

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