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Riviera trade group: 'Leave Saudis alone'

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Riviera trade group: 'Leave Saudis alone'
The beach is located just below the Saudi king’s Riviera villa in Vallauris. Photo: Valery Hache/ AFP
10:59 CEST+02:00
After weeks of uproar over a decision to let the Saudi royals “privatise” a public beach on the French Riviera, a trade group has pleaded for locals to calm down and leave the Middle Eastern visitors alone.

The Saudi royal family’s holiday on the French Riviera has hardly been a summer breeze.

While tens of thousands of people signed a petition protesting the royals’ request to bar the public from visiting the Mirandole beach during their visit, local police were next up to be infuriated when the family said it didn’t wish to have any female officers guarding the beach.

But on Thursday afternoon, the president of the Nice Côte d’Azur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CDI) had had enough of the complaints, telling locals in an open letter posted on Twitter that they need to “stop the conflict” linked to the Saudis’ temporary privatisation “of a micro beach”.

Although the group’s President Bernard Kleynhoff admitted he could understand that the privatisation of beaches could cause a stir, he said locals “shouldn’t forget about the economic impact (such a visit) can have on a sluggish economy”.

He warned that a bitter attitude “risks cutting the delegation’s stay short and fend off potential future stays for years to come.”

“So let’s calm down and make sure that we keep the French Riviera competitive and [that it remains] attractive for all financial players for [the sake of] EMPLOYMENT.”

(The Saudi king's impressive villa along the Mediterranean coast. Photo: AFP)

Last week, Francois-Xavier Lauch, director of the office of the Alpes-Maritimes prefecture, told The Local that the closing of the beach was nothing more than a question of security.

“This move is consistent with the visit of a head of state and it would be the same if it was President Hollande visiting or Barack Obama”.  

Riviera beach locked down for Saudi royals

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