The new king of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (a relative youngster, only 79), took a little vacation on the French Riviera this summer. To make his stay more commodious, the French authorities converted the public beach next to his mansion into a private one. They went so far as to block public access with a concrete slab, and installed an elevator for the exclusive use of the king and his entourage.
The situation didn’t sit too well with local residents, who were furious. A petition against the “privatization” was launched, gathering more than 100,000 signatures.
King Salman was affronted by the impertinent behavior of those uppity French people, and cut short his stay on the Rivera as a result. He moved on to Morocco, taking his entourage and all those lovely petro-euros with him.
Update: Here’s a little addendum that may reflect Saudi attitudes towards France. From The Local (H/T Fjordman):
Saudis savaged over Paris hospital bills
Saudi royals who took over a public beach in southern France recently should have paid their country’s outstanding hospital bills before leaving the country, a top French doctor has said.
“Before leaving, the King of Saudi Arabia could pay its €3.7 million bill to the hospitals of Paris. A gesture of politeness,” tweeted Patrick Pelloux, a Paris-based emergency services doctor and activist.
|00:05||Saudi King Salman [bin Abdulaziz Al Saud] remained only eight days|
|00:09||in his residence at Vallauris, instead of the planned four weeks. His visit|
|00:13||had caused controversy. Firstly, the privatisation of the public beach|
|00:17||of Mirandole, “refitted” for the occasion.|
|00:21||150,000 people signed a petition against this.|
|00:25||Jean-Noel Falcou, Municipal Council of Vallauris: After the departure of the king, all we demand is a quick regularisation of the work|
|00:29||that is, the demolition of the concrete slab, the removal|
|00:33||of the lift that was installed directly on the beach.|
|00:37||The beach should re-open to the swimmers today. In case of a return|
|00:41||of the “king”, its privatisation will be repeated.|
|00:45||Philippe Castanet, Sub-Prefect of Grasse: The security of a head of state is non-negotiable.|
|00:49||We would never accept that he is not sufficiently protected.|
|00:53||Another controversy during his sojourn: Two female police from|
|00:57||to the security force were removed by the king. This was denied by|
|01:01||the management of public security (as they would!).|
|01:05||The king’s entourage told of his dissatisfaction with the reception he had received,|
|01:10||before he headed for Tangier, Morocco,|
|01:14||surrounded by his entourage of one thousand people (slaves?).