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Thai protesters giving the Mockingjay salute@karmanomad via Twitter

Thai cinemas scrap Hunger Games screenings

The Jennifer Lawrence film was pulled after protesters used the Mockingjay salute at a rally

Earlier this year, Thai pro-democracy demonstrators adopted a protest gesture straight out of Hollywood: the three-fingered Mockingjay salute used in The Hunger Games. Now screenings of the newest installment in the dystopic Jennifer Lawrence franchise have been cancelled for fear of political backlash. 

Thai cinema group Apex scrapped showings of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 after a protest group called The League of Liberal Thammasat for Democracy brought 200 tickets for its premiere and planned to give them away as part of its "Raise Three Fingers, Bring Popcorn and Go to the Theatre" campaign. 

The group were giving away tickets to people who had submitted the best answers to the question: "How does the Capitol resemble Bangkok?" 

When Apex management realised what was going on, they decided to drop the film entirely, losing out on an estimated £20,000 of ticket revenue. An Apex spokesperson told the Bangkok Post: "We feel our theatres are being used for political movements."

While Apex denied that the move had anything to do with recent Mockingjay-related events in Thailand. Just this week, five protesters wearing "No Coup" t-shirts were arrested for giving the three-fingered salute at newly-appointed prime minister Prayut Chan-Ocha, the general who led the military coup in May.

The student protesters were reportedly taken away for "attitude adjustment". Maybe the higher-ups at Apex just didn't want to be sent away too?

After the military government cracked down on protests, pro-democracy activists gathered in flashmobs and adopted the Mockingjay salute as a symbol of silent protest. It was promptly banned by the military government, which warned that it would arrest anybody seen flashing three fingers. 

Instead, audiences visiting Apex Group cinemas in Thailand will have to put up with Woody Allen's new film Magic In The Moonlight.

UPDATE: According to AFP, three students at Thai cinemas have been detained at Bangkok cinemas today.

"Two students are under interrogation at the police station," Colonel Kittikorn Boonsom of Bangkok Metropolitan Police told AFP. "The third detainee is a female student nabbed in front of Siam Paragon's cinema because she flashed an anti-government sign several times".