Quran burning has some USF Bulls and Florida Gators football fans anxious

10:04 AM, Sep 10, 2010   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -- The USF Bulls head up to the Swamp to take on the Florida Gators on Saturday. But the circus surrounding the "renegade reverend" has some football fans feeling uneasy.

Law enforcement officers in Gainesville are going to be stretched to the max Saturday.

Not only must they deal with the potential Quran burning and the chaos it's created, they'll also be handling planned protests against the burning.

Plus, add in the crush of perhaps more than a hundred thousand people coming to tailgate and watch the game.

All that activity has some Gators and Bulls fans saying they don't feel the Swamp is a safe place to be.

For example, one University of Florida grad who's part of our 10 News community on Facebook wrote, "i was going to [go] this weekend but am re-thinking it bc of that crazy guy who wants to burn all the Qurans".

According to several reports, a UF spokesman said earlier this week the university has not received any direct threats.

The mayor of Gainesville is asking folks to be the on the lookout for anything suspicious and report it to police.

Those police officers say they've been planning for this for more than a month.

They'll be setting up a checkpoint near the church to check for driver's licenses and encourage folks to gather at other locations to rally for or against the burning.

One thing working in the favor of police: scheduling. The USF-UF game is set to run from noon until 3 or 3:30 p.m., while the Quran burning, if it happens, is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

And there is one more wild card in all of this.

The Gainesville fire chief says his department has denied the church a permit to set a bonfire. He won't say whether his department will take any action to stop the burning, if the event goes forward.


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Grayson Kamm, 10 News

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