Thais channel Hunger Games
OPPONENTS of Thailand's military coup are risking arrest by flashing the three-finger salute from the Hunger Games movies to defy a junta that has banned all public protests.
The gesture has become the unofficial symbol of resistance against a military regime that has suspended democracy and severely curtailed freedom of expression.
"Showing three fingers has become a symbol to call for basic political rights in a country ruled by one person as if with the most sovereign power, who is General Prayuth Chan-ocha," Sombat Boonngamanong, a prominent activist wanted by the junta, wrote on Facebook.
Critics of the May 22 coup, including the youngest daughter of ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, have posted photographs of themselves flashing three fingers on Facebook and other social media sites.
"Dear #HungerGames. We've taken your sign as our own. Our struggle is non-fiction," wrote one Twitter user.
In the Hunger Games movies, the residents of a dystopian future North America - who are forced to compete in a televised death match - initially use the gesture to mean thanks, admiration and good-bye to someone they love.
It later becomes a more general symbol of their uprising against a wealthy, totalitarian regime.
In Thailand, some protesters said the salute is also a nod to the French revolutionary motto "liberty, equality and fraternity".
The military - which has imposed martial law, controls on the media and a night-time curfew - has warned that people flashing three fingers could face arrest under its ban on public protests.
"If they gather as more than five people and show the symbol of three fingers, then it's against the law," army spokesman Winthai Suvaree told reporters.
But he suggested that people posting photos on the Internet were unlikely to be detained, saying coup makers were "not paying any attention" to the three-finger salute by Thaksin's daughter.
Some people have taken to the streets reading George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Six people were arrested, including a woman shoved into a taxi by undercover police apparently disguised as journalists.