Demonstration at Saudi Family's Annexing Public Beach in France

Demonstration at Saudi Family's Annexing Public Beach in France
Tue Jul 28, 2015 17:22:39

French demonstrators have been protesting in recent days at the billionaire Saudi Royal family's plan to annex a public beach on the French Riviera, Al-Alam News Network reports.

According to the Daily Mail, France got its first glimpse of the Saudi king and his 1,000-strong entourage set to dominate the Riviera after they landed at Nice Airport.

More than 100,000 people have already signed a petition against King Salman and his entourage having the beautiful stretch of Mediterranean coast to himself during his summer holidays.

The Mirandole beach, which is usually packed with holidaymakers and sunbathers, is now quiet as the stretch of sand has been locked down after the king and his entourage arrived on Saturday.

King Salman arrived in a convoy of armoured Mercedes limousines accompanied by motorbike outriders after touching down by private Boeing 747 at nearby Nice airport.

A French police van is parked at the entrance of the royal home, where the king and 1,000 members of his entourage arrived on Saturday.

Another police vehicle is stationed at the Mirandole beach, between Antibes and Marseille.

In the water, two police boats patrol the coastline to ensure that no intruders breach the 300-metre radius ban.

The king's vast holiday home overlooks the beach, where a police sign says, "Access and circulation are forbidden on this public maritime domain and swimming is banned under the right of the residence of the king of Saudi Arabia."

The 79-year-old also plans on building a staircase and wooden walkways leading from his opulent villa down to the Mirandole beach in Vallauris.

A resident who lives next door to the beach said, "The fact that they are allowed to pay to shut it off is an outrage. This is public property - a place which everybody should be allowed to enjoy, not just very rich Saudis."

Despite the ongoing protests, the authorities have allowed the beach to be shut off because of "security concerns", according to a spokesman for the local prefecture.

Genevieve Delemer, another local who has signed the petition, said, "It's an outrage. You can't just build things like that on a public beach. Who do they think they are?"

The online petition against such luxury excess reads, "This beach, like any other public maritime domain, should be available for everyone, including residents, tourists, French people and foreigners."

It calls on the prefecture and France's Socialist government to "recognize the unanimous wave of indignation' and to reverse its decision to privatize the beach."

Jean-Noel Falcou, who had launched the petition, said, "We cannot accept that there is one law for the rich and powerful and one law for everyone else."

Falcou insisted that his demonstration against the Saudis had nothing to do with Islamophobia.

Rich families who have successfully shut off stretches of coastline on the Riviera have including former president Nicolas Sarkozy and his third wife, the former supermodel Carla Bruni.

Francois-Xavier Lauch, of the Alpes-Maritime prefecture, said, "This closure is consistent with what would happen with a visit by any head of state, whether it was President Francois Hollande or Barack Obama."

Lauch insisted that the beach was "only ten meters long" and was usually only visited by a handful of people every day. He said that the visit of the super-rich Saudis would also bring a huge amount of money to the local economy.

The King and his staff and family are staying in Chateau de l'Horizon, a £5million pounds plus mansion once used by Winston Churchill, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Marilyn Monroe.

Some 1,000 members of the King's entourage are being put up in hotels in nearby resort towns, including Cannes, where luxury hotel rooms can cost upwards of £750 a night.

While demonstrators tried to get near the King's holiday home, police insisted that this would be impossible. "Anybody causing a public disturbance, or intruding in what is now considered public space will be arrested," said a local police source.

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