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LSU beefs up security for prayer rally

1 year 10 months 2 weeks ago January 23, 2015 Jan 23, 2015 Friday, January 23 2015 January 23, 2015 6:55 AM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Mark Armstrong

BATON ROUGE - LSU Police will beef up their security in anticipation of protests at Saturday's prayer rally where Governor Bobby Jindal will take center stage at an event that's gotten a lot of criticism.

Protestors say they're OK with the prayer. "The protest isn't against prayer at all," said freshman Ethan Guerra. He and other students plan to demonstrate against the group sponsoring the event.

According to documents provided by LSU, a group called the American Family Association is renting the Maravich Assembly Center for the event. The organization claims to be one of the largest and oldest pro-traditional family groups in the country.

However, protestors say the organization broadcasts hate against the LGBT community. "We don't agree that the values they are perpetuating at their event are what really accurately reflects the people in Louisiana or on this campus," said Guerra.

The name of the event is the Response. Participants will pray for a nation they believe is in crisis.

A spokesperson for the Response said the group is separate from the American Family Association and the two groups have not been in direct contact. The spokesperson said nothing controversial will go on at the rally.

Some think the event is just a political move for Governor Bobby Jindal to help jumpstart a presidential bid. "He's simply courting voters and wants to use religion to advance his personal ends," said LSU Professor Kevin Cope.

The governor's office said his role in the event is as a devout Christian man who cares deeply for his country. The rally has garnered a high level of criticism, and campus police plan to beef up security for the day.

"Regardless of which side of the issue you are on, we wanted them to understand they have the opportunity to get their message out, as long as it's in a peaceful manner," said LSU police department spokesperson Cory Lalonde.

As many as 40 law enforcement officers will be on campus on Saturday, that's up from the usual number of six. Police say they don't expect any trouble.

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