Police in Gainesville, Fla., will be on heightened alert as the city braces for a possible backlash to Saturday's planned burning of copies of the Muslim Koran. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said state authorities will be closely monitoring the situation as well. At least one counter demonstration has been planned to the book burning, involving students at the University of Florida.
The decision by Florida pastor Terry Jones to hold the protest event at 6 p.m. on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks has sparked angry demonstrations in several Muslim countries.
President Obama has warned that burning the Koran could lead to "serious violence."
Gainesville Police Corporal Tscharna Senn tells Newsmax: "We definitely have a heightened police presence in that area, as well as other areas of the city and county.
"We also have a home [University of Florida] football game that weekend that draws about 90-100,000 extra people into the city, so we continue to plan for that event as well as we do every home game.
"So we have several measures in effect to make sure that we protect the citizens in that residential neighborhood, as well as citizens in Gainesville as a whole," she says.
Senn tells Newsmax no threats of violence related to the book burning have been received, and adds that it will coordinate efforts with other law enforcement agencies to preserve the peace.
"We will actively be working with the Alachua County sheriff's office and the University of Florida police department. They have both provided resources for us to use on Saturday," Senn says.
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