Muslims protest in front of Colosseum over mosque closures

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.