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Venezuelan Protestors Get Creative With Protective Masks

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RAUL ARBOLEDA via Getty Images

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Fashion is not foreign to the young demonstrators who skirmish nearly nightly with security forces at the barricades in the Venezuelan capital's upper-class Chacao district.

Nor is improvisation absent in the gear that protects their eyes and throats from government tear gas. An eye-catching transparent mask made from a large plastic water bottle is now so popular that several videos demonstrating its assembly are circulating online.

Some protesters have military-grade gas masks, many predating their owners by decades. Painter and dust masks are also common, as are ski, scuba and swim goggles.

As the protests against Venezuela's socialist-led government move into their second month, front-line head gear includes skate, bicycle and motorcycle helmets but encompasses the more whimsical, too.

Identities are hidden by the mustachioed Guy Fawkes mask, often painted in the red, blue and yellow of the Venezuelan flag, or by sparkly Carnival masks or simply a cloth wrapped around the face.

For extra protection from the sting of tear gas, some protesters coat their faces in toothpaste or spray a water-based Maalox solution in their eyes.

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