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French riot cops angry over lunchtime wine ban

Text by Tony Todd

Latest update : 2011-10-04

France’s riot police insist there is nothing wrong with a glass or two of wine with their lunch, even when they are on duty.

France’s notorious riot police, the CRS, are up in arms - after bosses ruled they could no longer enjoy a quarter litre of wine with their lunch.

The row broke out after pictures were published showing officers enjoying a drink with their midday meal while out policing a demonstration.

CRS boss Hubert Weigel on Monday ordered that “the little quarter litre of wine taken with a meal while on duty” was henceforth banned. Their right to a “beer or a quarter litre of wine” with their meal was confirmed by a directive signed in 1989.

The CRS’s trade union said the new ban was based on an “exaggeration”.

Union representative Didier Mangione told reporters the pictures had “upset the management of the CRS far more than public opinion.”

He added: “Decisions like these should be based on studies of the actual negative effects [of a small amount of alcohol]. There are none.

“This ban should be withdrawn, especially if the drink is consumed with a meal away from the public eye.”

The French “Code de Travail” (work code) says “consumption of alcoholic drinks with meals” should not be proscribed where this consumption is not prejudicial to public safety or that of the worker.

The CRS (Compangies Républicaines de Sécurite) are a controversial arm of the police force, notorious for their strong arm tactics against protesters and sometimes even schoolchildren. They have often been accused of racism and racial profiling.

Date created : 2011-04-21

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