IRVINE (CBS) — A planned rally held by a controversial Florida pastor who presided over a torching of the Koran last year was canceled Thursday after suspicious activity was detected near the event.
Terry Jones, who sparked a national debate over free speech with his highly-publicized burning of the Islamic holy book, was initially scheduled to speak at 11:30 a.m. despite being denied permission to hold the rally at a popular spot on the University of California Irvine campus.
KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports the logistical planning for the rally got off to a bumpy start.
UCI police grew concerned about the safety of the event after they received intelligence that indicated suspicious activity could threaten campus safety.
Police shut down all traffic in the area surrounding the campus flagpoles — a popular location for public events at UCI — and evacuated the administration building. All events in the area were canceled.
While no specific threat was cited, police said the closure was merely a precautionary measure. Other campus activities were unaffected.
Tensions have remained high on the UCI campus after 11 Muslim students in September were convicted of misdemeanors for disrupting a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren in February of 2010.