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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, August 21, 2018


‘Hunger Games’ screenings nixed in Bangkok as pro- Democracy groups use salute from film

One of the embattled nation´s top movie theater

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KHON KAEN, Thailand -- Five Thai students were arrested Wednesday in Khon Kaen after flashing the three-fingered salute, in reference to the Hunger Games franchise, at Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha.

In response, one of the embattled nation's top movie theater chains has canceled all screenings of Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1.

In the middle of a speech being delivered by Chan-Ocha, the five pro-democracy students removed their outer layers to reveal shirts that said "no coup," in protest of the May 2014 coup that saw the Thai military overthrow the citizen-elected government and install their own.

Government officials say the students were detained to a military camp for an "attitude adjustment."

The three-fingered salute has become so tied to Thailand's pro-democracy movement, in June the military promised to arrest citizens who did not refrain from flashing it when asked to stop.

"I'm surprised something like this hasn't happened much earlier given the general discontent with the regime," David Streckfuss, an American scholar of Thai history who lives in Khon Kaen, told TIME.

Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence conceded the franchise's influence was "sort of thrilling" when asked about the protests by Australian outlet the Music, but said the actual events raise serious questions about humanity considering they parallel such a dark story.

"Part of it was sort of thrilling, that something that happens in a movie can become a symbol for freedom or protest. The thing that's disturbing is it's this weird reflection. We're mirroring what's happening in the world and suddenly it's mirroring back. And kids are getting arrested. And when kids start getting arrested, it takes the thrill out of it."Matt Bradwell

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