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Rome police go undercover in 'gladiator' ring sting

ROME -- Rome police have donned togas, capes and sandals to bust a ring of "gladiators" on assault charges outside the Colosseum and other Italian capital landmarks.

The 20 suspects are accused of assaulting and intimidating their competition, in order to be alone to pose for pictures with tourists for money in the most lucrative spots at Rome's Colosseum, Forum and Vatican.

Rome police said Friday that assault charges were filed against the suspects, who were not under arrest.

Police showed up dressed as gladiators Wednesday near the ancient arena and in the nearby Piazza Venezia.

First they were told to leave by the suspects, then attacked — at which point they and other undercover officers disguised as city garbage collectors or tourists intervened.