Naked protester holding bible becomes Venezuelan celebrity

Brave stunt becomes symbol of Venezuela's protest movement

CARACAS, Venezuela – Tens of thousands of protesters have been on the streets of Venezuela's capital, but all eyes have focused on just one person — a young man who stripped down to his sneakers and walked naked through clouds of tear gas and lines of riot police.

A hush fell over a crowd of protesters who had shut down Caracas' main highway when the lanky young man approached. Wearing just sneakers and tube socks, he approached heavily armed police in gas masks. There, he asked officers to allow the protesters to assemble peacefully, and held out a Bible.

The man's back was marked with bruises from rubber bullets. At one point, he climbed onto an armored police vehicle and officers shouted for him to get down. But for the most part, he created a zone of calm amid another chaotic day of the protest movement.

Police kept their distance, and protesters hushed when he passed. Photos and videos of the man have flooded Venezuelan social media. It was a planned protest, he said. When he is out protesting with clothes on, strangers stop him to take pictures with him. He has become a symbol of their desperation.