France's infamous riot police are threatening to strike over a new rule forbidding them from drinking wine with lunch, a cherished — and in many cases legally protected — French tradition.That is how Dana Kennedy starts her article (merci à Damian) about "the right of CRS police" to have a "small quarter-liter of red to accompany meals on the ground".
The riot police in turn have accused the Interior Ministry of "trying to make us priests, but without the sacramental wine."
The 14,000 dark-blue-uniformed members of the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité, or CRS as they're known in France, have a reputation for heavy-handed tactics and abuses of power when responding to riot and crowd-control situations. They first gained notoriety during the May 1968 student uprisings in France.
So it was no surprise when they angrily denounced the new ban on drinking alcohol -- brought about after pictures of armed CRS police drinking beer while in full body armor and policing a student demonstration in October outraged officials and the public.
… Didier Mangione, the national director of the French Police Union, … said CRS officers were "not happy with being treated like children" and complained further that the Interior Ministry was trying to deprive the CRS of France's long-standing "tradition of conviviality."