What does Thailand protesters three-fingered salute mean? What does it stand for?

With pro-democracy protests in Bangkok against the military junta government of Prayut Chan-o-cha increasing in strength and purpose this month, and the chance of government violence against protesters escalating, more eyes are on Thailand from around the world.

People from outside Thailand that, while they may support the growing pro-democracy protests by Thai high school and university students against a corrupt military-backed government, are not always sure why they use a three-fingered salute in their protests or what that salute means.

The salute, of course, is from the 2012 hit movie The Hunger Games but, in Thailand, it has much more meaning than just something borrowed from Hollywood.

Thailand’s three-fingered salute

In the just-released The Guardian video (watch below), a profile on one of Thailand’s protest leaders, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak explains why Thai protesters use the three-fingered salute the best.

He says:

The salute is from The Hunger Games. It represents the fight against an authoritarian regime.

We adapt it for our use and it stands for freedom, equality and unity.

The salute also brings protesters together, giving them a sign they are all fighting for the same thing — democracy — and stressing, if they stick together, they will eventually overcome the dictatorship the current Thai government is rapidly falling into.

Meanwhile, the Thai government of Prayut Chan-o-cha has announced a new State of Emergency in Bangkok this morning after more than 10,000 pro-democracy peaceful protesters took to the streets yesterday.

The new decree bans all gatherings of more than five people and prevents news being published that may be critical of the government.

Protesters, however, are ignoring the decree and have called for another protest at 4pm today at Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong intersection.

Meanwhile, Penguin was arrested again by Thai police early this morning after peacefully protesting yesterday.