Rome will turn off the lights of the Colosseum – as well as the lights on Via dei Fori Imperiali, the Roman Forum and Trajan's Market for the first time – on Wednesday 3 April in solidarity with the two Italian marines Salvatore Girone and Massimiliano Latorre now back again in India.
Rome's mayor Gianni Alemanno predicts widespread participation in the gesture which is designed to keep the spotlight on "bringing home our two marines as soon as possible".
The marines have recently been sent back to India to face trial in India where they are accused of killing two Indian fishermen over a year ago. The controversial case has strained diplomatic relations between Italy and India, leading to the recent surprise resignation of Italy's minister of foreign affairs. For more details of the story see James Walston's blog.
It will be the second time that the city's administration has shown its solidarity with the marines. On 14 March 2012 the city projected the message "Liberiamo i nostri marò" (free our marines) on the façade of the Colosseum.