People were furious, but there was nothing to do about it. The French authorities bowed to king Salman from the totalitarian and repressive Saudi Arabia.
The dispute concerned a beautiful piece of beach on the French Riviera, called Mirandole. On this beach the king right was on holiday in a huge luxury villa, located right next to the Mediterranean. But he refused to swim with others. Therefore, he ordered the public beach closed to everybody but himself.
The French authorities slammed their heels together and bowed to the demand. Moreover, they gave the King permission to build an elevator from the villa directly down to the beach.
"It's outrageous. Just to build something on a public beach. Who do they think they are?, asked a furious woman from the local area. She, along with 100,000 others signed a protest.
But that's not all. The Saudi king would not accept any female police officers either.
Unlike Saudi Arabia, there is equality between men and women in France, and some police officers are women. Therefore, there are also female officers among those who were ordered to guard the Saudi king. But that was to him unacceptable. And the Socialist government also bowed to this requirement.
Police was furious and called it discrimination.
"Is it because they will not be protected by women, or is it because they do not want to swim in the sight of women?, asked Sylvain Martinache from the police.
"We’re the victims of discrimination," said one police source last week.
"One of our colleagues was asked to leave the area on Saturday night because the Saudis felt uncomfortable with her around. This kind of discrimination should not be going on in France."
The authorities defend it with that they would also close the beach if it was President Obama or other heads of state.
But none of them would require women officers removed. Only a leader of a Muslim country where women are extremely oppressed and without equality would do that.
Saudi Arabia is a major customer of the French arms industry and an ally in the Middle East. And then you obviously have to accept much despite public protests.
Now the king has left the country.
Eight days after arriving in southern France for what was billed as a three-week luxury vacation, King Salman and his entourage boarded a flight from Nice airport to the Moroccan city of Tangiers.
Officials said the beach that had been controversially closed for the royal's holiday would now reopen to the public.
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