Europe

Muslims protest in front of Colosseum over mosque closures

  • Muslim men gather for a prayer and demonstration near Rome's ancient Colosseum, seen in the background Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. The Muslim community of Rome gathered by the Colosseum to pray and demonstrate against the alleged shutting down by police of unofficial places of worship in the city.  (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Muslim men gather for a prayer and demonstration near Rome's ancient Colosseum, seen in the background Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. The Muslim community of Rome gathered by the Colosseum to pray and demonstrate against the alleged shutting down by police of unofficial places of worship in the city. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • Men hold up signs reading in Italian "To close a place of worship is against faith" during a demonstration near Rome's ancient Colosseum, seen in the background, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. The Muslim community of Rome gathered by the Colosseum to demonstrate against the alleged shutting down by police of unofficial places of worship in the city.  (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Men hold up signs reading in Italian "To close a place of worship is against faith" during a demonstration near Rome's ancient Colosseum, seen in the background, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. The Muslim community of Rome gathered by the Colosseum to demonstrate against the alleged shutting down by police of unofficial places of worship in the city. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

  • Women sit on the women's side during Friday prayers and a demonstration near Rome's ancient Colosseum, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. The Muslim community of Rome gathered by the Colosseum to pray and demonstrate against the alleged shutting down by police of unofficial places of worship in the city.  (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Women sit on the women's side during Friday prayers and a demonstration near Rome's ancient Colosseum, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. The Muslim community of Rome gathered by the Colosseum to pray and demonstrate against the alleged shutting down by police of unofficial places of worship in the city. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)  (The Associated Press)

Hundreds of Muslims have gathered near Rome's Colosseum to pray and protest the closures of mosques and other places of worship.

An imam led the group in chants of "Allah Akbar" which means "God is great," as they kneeled to the ground facing the Colosseum.

The protest was organized by a Bangladeshi group, Dhuumcatu, which has complained that Muslim places of worship in Rome have been branded illegal by authorities for various building violations. The group wants City Hall to intervene.

Police confirmed the closure of some places of prayer. In a statement, police said authorities guarantee freedom of thought, but within a legal framework.

The anti-immigrant Northern League demanded to know why the group was allowed to stage a protest in such a visible and significant location for tourism.