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Heightened police presence around Ben Hill Griffin Stadium coincides with scheduled Quran burning and 9/11 anniversary

GAINESVILLE -- About 40 police vehicles, both marked and unmarked, were positioned in the north parking lot of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the campus of the University of Florida on Wednesday.

The University of Florida's football team plays host to the University of South Florida at 12:21 p.m. on Saturday. Saturday is the anniversary of 9/11 and also the same day the pastor of a small church in Alachua County has said he will burn Qurans as a demonstration of First Amendment rights. The story became international news this week. Steve McClain, a spokesman for UF's athletic department, said the University of Florida's campus police department is working with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to prepare for Saturday's football game.

McClain said on Wednesday around 3 p.m. that "the most recent intelligence that we hear from, the UPD says there's no specific threats against the University of Florida or the Athletic Association, but UPD has heightened its awareness and security." The large number of police vehicles outside Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Wednesday likely indicated a meeting of law enforcement officers in preparation for Saturday's game, according to McClain.

The UAA is asking fans on Saturday "to pay more attention to the surroundings and report suspicious activities to police or to us," according to McClain. He also said the UAA is asking for people attending the game to arrive earlier than usual, likely due to more stringent security checks upon entering the stadium.

-jo-

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