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City lockdown in Biarritz for G7 felt by residents

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City lockdown in Biarritz for G7 felt by residents
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REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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Local residents of Biarritz said the city's lockdown as part of the Group of Seven (G7) summit was hurting business.

"Today, we have only seen around 10% of the number of people we usually see, so about 90% are missing. We even make more money during a Sunday in the middle of winter, and we are in August," said Frederic Montamat, a local butcher.

As international delegations came to the seaside town for the summit from August 23 to 26, some residents questioned why it was taking place in August, which is part of the height of tourist season.

Biarritz's airport and train station were closed as part of heightened security measures in the town. Train stations in Bayonne, Guéthary, Boucau, and Deux-Jumeaux were also closed.

Two security zones prevented access to the main parts of town.

"It is a little depressing I must say," said Arnaus Darras, a local bar owner told Reuters.

"My colleagues even chose not to come to work and open because there isn't a single soul around. We had been promised that journalists would come and eat here, and use a system of cards and tickets to pay, but no one came," Darras added.

Read more: Biarritz G7: Protests, 'unprecedented' security — and restricted beach access

From August 23 to 26, certain areas of the town were restricted to residents and those associated with the G7.

"I can imagine so many other moments when this G7 could have been organised, all the more when we know how little useful it is going to be. And to hold it in Biarritz in August, it sounds so absurd to me," said ice cream shop owner Christian Lyard.

Read more: What is the G7? A look at the economic summit coming to France this month

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