Turtles keep Aguilera off beach at glitzy Cyprus wedding

Nicosia (AFP) –


Uproar stirred by environmentalists over a turtle nesting site has forced a wealthy Russian couple to cancel a glitzy beach wedding party starring Christina Aguilera on the holiday island of Cyprus.

Aguilera finally performed indoors Wednesday for the wedding party at a luxury hotel in Latchi on the northwestern coast of the Mediterranean island, as seen in videos posted on YouTube.

The three-day wedding event reportedly cost ?8 million (around $9.5 million).

Aguilera had inadvertently got caught up in a storm of protest after pictures emerged of bulldozers ploughing through a sandy beach used by protected turtles for nesting.

A permit had initially been granted for an outdoor performance -- "but on the understanding that nothing would change on the beach", Paphos district official Mary Lambrou told state radio.

"When we saw what they did, then we intervened and told them to take the structure down and the event took place indoors," she added.

Local authorities stepped in after eco activists complained that a tractor was used to flatten the sand to set up a stage on a beach in front of the hotel.

"With our action we prevented an environmental disaster that has exposed Cyprus worldwide," Green MP George Perdikis said.

In 2002, British business magnate Sir Philip Green forked out millions for a 50th birthday bash at the same Cyprus hotel, flying in hundreds of guests to be entertained by performers Rod Stewart and Tom Jones among others.