Burmese protesters draw inspiration from ‘The Hunger Games’

The Burmese people have enlisted a familiar symbol in their calls for democracy.

As protesters march in opposition to a February 1 military coup, they raise three fingers in a salute adopted from American author Suzanne Collins’ series, The Hunger Games.

In the popular young-adult book and film series, the three-finger salute unites citizens of the fictional nation of Panem against authoritarian rule.

People holding banner with images of three-finger salute (© AP Images)
Demonstrators in Rangoon, Burma, raise a banner comprising the symbolic three-finger salute and names of those killed during protests since the February 1 military coup. (© AP Images)

Since seizing power February 1, the Burmese military has led a violent crackdown on calls for freedom and democracy, killing more than 800 people — including children — and detaining more than 4,100 others, according to a civil society organization tracking the arrests.

The United States and international partners support the Burmese people’s calls for democracy and condemn the killing of peaceful protesters.

“The military and the police must exercise utmost restraint and respect human rights and international law,” the Group of Seven (G7) nations’ foreign ministers said in a February 23 statement. “We condemn the intimidation and oppression of those opposing the coup.”

The G7 nations are Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The High Representative of the European Union joined the statement.