The Thai diaspora and students in France gathered to wave three-fingered salutes as a symbol of defiance against the military regime at the ‘Hunger Games 3’ premiere and at the Institut d'études politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris. The event was joined by the controversial transgender anti-coup student activist Aum Neko.
After the Wednesday arrest of five student activists in Khon Kaen who flashed three-fingered salutes in front of Prayut Chan-o-cha, the head of the junta, while he was giving a speech to civil servants and the subsequent arrests of students who followed suit in Bangkok, Thai people in France on Thursday gathered at the ‘Hunger Games 3’ premiere in Paris and raised the symbolic three-fingered salute in front of a cinema.
They also put up banners reading ‘District Thai’ and ‘No to Dictator Prayut’ while later at the student gathering at Sciences Po the students showed banners reading, “Down with martial law, release students” and “Thai students in Paris do not accept the coup”.
In the evening, the group and international students at Sciences Po, a well-known political science institute in Paris, also raised 3-fingered salutes in symbolic protest to condemn the junta’s use of martial law to arrest political dissidents and students.
“This movie reflects many dimensions of current Thai society, especially the main content of the movie which points out that a dictatorial regime will eventually meet its demise, and as long as people are still treated with injustice they will come out and fight against the oppressor,” said Saran Chuchai, aka Aum Neko, who is now in exile in Europe.
Delattre, a French native who also came to join the campaign, added that the salute signified the French national motto, Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood, which has had an important meaning in France for the last 200 years. Therefore, the arrest of people who only express these values is very regressive.
‘Hunger Games 3’ or ‘Mockingjay’ is the last in the Hunger Games movie trilogy, based on the novel of the same title by Suzanne Collins. The movie is about a fictional country called Panem, which is ruled by a suppressive dictatorial regime based on a city called the Capitol while other cities are divided into numbered districts to serve without question the rich Capitol. A 3-fingered salute is used in the story by rebels as a sign of resistance against the Capitol.