Life imitates art in this scary situation in which a theater chain in Thailand has decided to stop screenings of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. Thailand has had it’s troubles with the government and military and has in the past used the three finger salute used in the books and the movies as a sign of protest. But now with the third installment ready to be released in theaters around the world, this gives more fuel to those protesters.
Three people, including two students were arrested on Tuesday for using the film’s three finger salute during a speech by General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the military-appointed prime minister, in the northern town of Khon Kaen.
The three finger salute has been used as a sign of protest against the country’s military coup which took power in May.
The Apex Group, which operates two cinemas in Bangkok’s Siam Square district, said it had stopped screening the film and replaced it with Woody Allen’s “Magic In The Moonlight.”
Apex said that its decision was not directly connected to the student arrests. Instead it said that it had been asked to sell 200 tickets to the film at its Scala theatre and later discovered that 160 of them were being offered for free on Facebook, by an anti-coup group.
The League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy on Sunday said it would give out 160 tickets for the premiere at Scala, calling its efforts “Raise Three Fingers, Bring Popcorn and Go to Theatre.”
Apex said that it halted the film because its screens were “being used for political activism.”
In the books, the salute was more in support and respect for Katniss Everdeen, for which Katniss became a symbol herself of the rebellion. Thus, the salute became a sign of solidarity with the rebel.