GENEVA (Aug. 28)
A concert here by a popular Saudi Arabian singer, rescheduled because of a row over the fact it was to take place at a Jewish-owned hotel, degenerated into a drunken brawl between the young Arab spectators.
The concert by Mohamed Abdou, with seats priced at $500, was to have been held at the Noga Hilton Hotel.
The event was the brainchild of an Egyptian impresario who viewed it as an opportunity to attract the many wealthy tourists from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states spending the summer in Geneva.
When members of the Saudi royal family staying here learned that the hotel to be used for the concert was owned by Jewish businessman Nissim Gaon, they raised objections and the event was transferred to the Intercontinental Hotel.
Intercontinental officials were only too pleased at the prospect of a fresh source of income to make up for the shortfall of American tourists this year and Arabs who chose to stay home because of falling oil prices.
Their satisfaction was shortlived. Young Kuwaitis attending the concert after downing a few drinks started a brawl with a group from Saudi Arabia. The concert was quickly transformed into a donnybrook, with tables, chairs and glasses flying in all directions. Bodyguards, quickly overwhelemed by the fray, called in police and order was restored at the hotel.