Two men dressed as centurions, who charge tourists for appearing in their photographs, were arrested on 2 July after an altercation with Rome police near the Colosseum. Police spotted the costumed men, brothers Manuel and Eugenio Sonnino, posing for tourist's photos in the area directly in front of the Colosseum - something the city authorities banned the "centurions" and "gladiators" from doing three months ago. After being invited to move along, the two men reportedly threatened police with their wooden swords before fleeing the scene on foot. They were soon apprehended by motorcycle officers who charged them with violence and resisting arrest. The incident comes amid continued efforts by the city's police to rid the Colosseum area of the costumed characters who pester tourists for large amounts of cash, on which they allegedly do not pay taxes. In March Rome's superintendent of archaeological heritage, Maria Rosaria Barbera, ordered the expulsion of all costumed centurions from the area around the Colosseum. The city launched a task force of municipal police to crack down on the fake centurions as well as illegal snack-bar trucks and souvenir pedlars from the Colosseum's visitor entrances and exits, and around the Arch of Constantine. The centurions and gladiators reacted by staging a number of sit-in protests and in April two of them briefly occupied the Colosseum. They are still permitted to operate elsewhere in Rome, such as along Via dei Fori Imperiali, in Piazza Navona and at the Trevi Fountain.
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