Saudi King enrages locals by sealing off French beach

French Riviera locals sign petition for opening of La Mirandole beach after it is taken over by Saudi King

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Saudi King Salman arrived at the French Riviera on Saturday for a three-week vacation, closing a beach for his own personal use, which has enraged locals who are demanding its re-opening.

As a result, more than 10,000 people have signed a petition asking for the public use of the beach located in Vallauris.

According to the petition, the beach should be "available for the benefit of all."

The king arrived at Nice airport, accompanied by 1,000 people, on Saturday.

The president of an association of Cannes' hotel managers, Michel Chevillon, seemed to be thrilled with the king’s arrival, calling it"clearly good news" for local business. "These are people with great purchasing power," he told the BBC.

The petition signed by local people points out that the beach is a public place and everyone has the right to access it.

"We recall that this natural zone, like all maritime public estates, is an intrinsic public property that should be available for the benefit of all, residents, tourists, French, foreigners or people passing through," the petition states.

The issue of illegal construction is also stressed by the mayor of Vallaurisas, Michelle Salucki, in a letter to President Francois Hollande, as the construction of an elevator is also taking place on the beach in order to connect the beach to the king’s villa.

"We understand the security reasons and the nation's greater interest. But nobody can exonerate himself from the laws of the land," said the mayor.

It is also reported that local residents are not even allowed to approach the beach.

"I can see it's normal that you need to guarantee their security, but they should let us go for a swim," a local resident told the BBC.

TRTWorld and agencies