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

SINGAPORE—As protests against a Feb. 1 armed forces coup have gripped Myanmar, a single symbol has emerged as an icon: the a few-finger salute. Civil servants on strike, pupil protesters, even refugees residing overseas have produced the gesture in a clearly show of defiance.

The sign has an unlikely origin tale, popularized in the wake of a various coup, in 2014, in neighboring Thailand. Protesters there borrowed it from the literary and movie series “The Starvation Games,” in which it is revealed as a symbol for a fictional uprising against tyrannical overlords. Photographs of political activist Rittipong Mahapetch—flashing the sign at a chaotic Bangkok intersection against the backdrop of a pedestrian overpass crowded with soldiers—went viral just around a week following the Thai coup.

The distribute of the salute reveals how the region’s youth-led actions against authoritarianism, looking at their have struggles reflected overseas, have seemed to a single another for techniques, guidance and momentum as they deal with highly effective opponents. Hong Kong’s decentralized protests against Chinese manage grew to become a model for new Thai democracy demonstrators, who have for months challenged their country’s armed forces-backed establishment. The hashtag #MilkTeaAlliance emerged as an on the web campaign via which Asian activists from Taiwan to Myanmar clearly show solidarity with every single other.

The governments they stand against are finding out from every single other, as well, analysts and historians say.

“Activists are seeing every single other and trying to get tips from every single other, but at the exact time authoritarian states are seeing a single another and trying to borrow their tricks,” mentioned Jeffrey Wasserstrom, a professor of history at College of California, Irvine and writer of the ebook “Vigil: Hong Kong on the Brink.”