Europe News

Saudi king cuts French holiday short amid protests

King Salman of Saudi Arabia has cut short his French Riviera holiday amid a growing row over the closure of a beach in front of the king's property during his stay, AFP reported on Sunday.

After only eight days of what was planned as a three-week luxury vacation, the king flew on to Morocco, AFP reported, citing regional officials. According to the local prefecture at least half of the king's 1,000-strong delegation was also leaving the property in the Cote d'Azur town of Vallauris Golfe-Juan.

The Mirandole beach in front of the king's property has been at the center of a row with French locals over access in recent weeks. Now the king had left, it would reopen to the public, officials said.

A picture shows the villa of the Saudi king in Vallauris Golfe-Juan, southeastern France. The closure of the beach in front of his villa has incensed local residents.
VALERY HACHE| AFP | Getty Images

The closure of the beach for security and private seasons had angered locals, generating global headlines and prompting more than 150,000 people to sign a petition protesting against the "privatization" of the public strip of sand.

It was not immediately clear whether the royal departure was linked to the controversy over the beach, however.

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