Rome: Gianni Alemanno, the right-wing mayor of Rome, turned off the lights of the Colosseum and the Imperial Forum for the first time on Wednesday to "draw attention to the shameful case of the two marines".
Notably, the Italian government has been strongly criticised for its handling of the case of two of its marines accused of killing the fishermen off India`s southern coast in February last year.
On Wednesday, Alemanno did not pay attention to calls by cultural authorities to remove a stage built next to the Colosseum for a demonstration in support of two Italian marines.
"This evening (Wednesday) we have to demonstrate at the Colosseum, by turning off the lights, to show our solidarity with our marines," Alemanno said. "With all due respect for the Culture Ministry, we are going ahead and we don`t want to listen to nonsense," he continued.
Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone were sent back to India from Italy on March 22, days after the caretaker cabinet of Prime Minister Mario Monti said they would not be sent back to India after being allowed to come home to vote in the national polls.
Italy`s decision not to return the couple had angered the Indian authorities who called the situation unacceptable and ruled that Italy`s Ambassador to New Delhi Daniele Mancini could not leave India without permission. India`s Supreme Court has now lifted a three-week order banning Mancini from leaving the country.
The diplomatic row between the two countries, which traditionally have good relations, started in February 2012 as Latorre and Girone were charged with shooting dead the fishermen mistaken as pirates from a merchant vessel.
While Italy says the shooting took place in international waters, India insists the marines should be tried on its soil, where the accident happened.
Latorre and Girone, posted aboard oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie on security duty, on February 15, 2012, opened fire at a fishing boat off the coast of Kerala, suspecting that the boat carried pirates. Two fishermen -- Ajesh Binki and Gelastine -- were killed in the firing.
(With IANS inputs)