Merde! Residents angry over French Riviera beach being closed for Saudi king
The beach at Vallauris has been cut off to the public during the Saudi royal visit. (AFP/File)
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Residents of a French coastal town are angry about a beach on the French Riviera being closed for personal use by the visiting king of Saudi Arabia.
Officials in Vallauris, located on the Mediterranean coast between Cannes and Antibes, said they would restrict public access to a strip of sand near a villa owned by King Salman.
The French coast guard has also barred vessels from traveling within 984 feet of La Mirandole beach, where the villa is located.
While the visit has not been confirmed, local officials told CNN Saudi workers are on site preparing for the arrival of the king and his 400- to 500-member entourage.
The measures are being implemented for security reasons, officials told reporters, asserting that any visiting heads of state would receive the same level of protection.
Aside from not being able to access the beach, locals were angered by the construction of a private gate and elevator allowing the king direct access to the shore.
"Not only were they installing a gate on public property, but also pouring cement on the beach to install an elevator linking the house and the beach," Vallauris town councilor Jean Noel Falcou, the head of a local environmental protection association, told CNN.
The BBC reports the Saudis have promised to dismantle the elevator before they leave.
By Fred Lambert