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Italian police arrest 20 'gladiators'

Aug. 12, 2011 at 12:10 PM

ROME, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Police in Rome said officers went undercover in gladiator garb to arrest 20 costumed workers accused of using violence to protect their territory.

Investigators said officers disguised themselves as costumed performers outside of the Colosseum and soon found themselves under attack from other gladiator impersonators working with five tourist agencies, the BBC reported Friday.

The gladiators charge people to pose for pictures and receive payments from tourism agencies for convincing tourists to take advantage of their guided tours.

Police said the undercover operation was planned after rival gladiators reported being driven out of the area by threats and attacks from the group arrested.

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