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Venezuela anti-government activists put creativity on display in masks at protest barricades

  • Venezuela Masked Protesters Photo Gallery-1.jpg

    In this Feb. 18, 2014, an anti-government demonstrator wears a hand made mask from a water bottle to protect against the effects of tear gas during clashes with security forces at an anti-government protest in Caracas, Venezuela. The eye-catching transparent mask made from a large plastic water bottle is now so popular that several videos demonstrating its assembly are circulating online. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) (The Associated Press)

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    In this March 2, 2014 photo, anti-government demonstrators take a break on an old refrigerator used to build a barricade during clashes with security forces in Caracas, Venezuela. Fashion is not foreign to the young demonstrators who skirmish nearly nightly with security forces at the barricades in the Venezuelan capital. Painter and dust masks are common protection against tear gas, as are ski, scuba and swim goggles. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) (The Associated Press)

  • Venezuela Masked Protesters Photo Gallery-3.jpg

    In this March 4, 2014 photo, an anti-government demonstrator wears swimming goggles to protect against the effects of tear gas during clashes with security forces in Plaza Altamira, Caracas, Venezuela. Identities are hidden by sparkly Carnival masks or simply a cloth wrapped around the face. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano) (The Associated Press)

  • Venezuela Masked Protesters Photo Gallery-4.jpg

    In this March 2, 2014 photo, an anti-government demonstrator wearing a mask with the colors of the Venezuelan flag takes a selfie during clashes with security forces in Caracas, Venezuela. Identities are hidden by the mustachioed Guy Fawkes mask or by sparkly Carnival masks or simply a cloth wrapped around the face. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) (The Associated Press)

  • b3893b26dc6d1c094e0f6a706700edd3.jpg

    In this March 4, 2014 photo, an anti-government demonstrator wears a joker hat and painters mask to protect from the effects of tear gas during clashes with security forces in Plaza Altamira, Caracas, Venezuela. 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. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano) (The Associated Press)

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.