In a completely unexpected move and well ahead of schedule, King Salman of Saudi Arabia -- the most sacred Islamic country -- yesterday left the French Riviera, where he had arrived about a week ago on holiday, the Asia News website reports today (August 3, 2015).
His visit had sparked heated debate and protests from local residents over the closure and navigation ban -- for security reasons -- along one kilometer of the coastline near the villa where the monarch was staying. More than 150,000 people had signed a petition against the "privatization" of a stretch of public coastline.
Eight days after his arrival in Vallauris in southern France -- home to the king's luxurious villa -- for what was to have originally been a three-week vacation, the monarch departed from Nice airport to Tangier, Morocco.
At least 500 of the 1,000 people who made up the delegation that accompanied the Saudi leader on his French holiday have also left. Previously, the Saudi Embassy announced that the stay would last until August 20.