Liberté, égalité, beuverie! French Riot Police Threaten Strike . . . To Protect Their Right To Drink On Job

This is the quintessential French story. Anyone who has gone to France knows that you can expect that someone will be striking and shutting down parts of Paris. However, the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (CRS) police force is taking a stand on a matter of French privilege — the right to drink while on duty. After all, if the French cannot have a glass of wine while fighting terror, the terrorists have won.

The government is moving to bar the booze after pictures were published showing riot police drinking bottles of beer and wine during Paris street protests. The officers are wearing body armor and carrying weapons.

Didier Mangione, national secretary of the police union, is honestly incensed and proclaimed that the government is “trying to turn us into priests, but without the altar wine.”

As a wine lover who adores France, I stand with my brothers in arms and ask that all stand for the playing of La Marseillaise (perhaps the best national anthem in the world) as seen in a bar in Casablanca:

Fight on, my French brothers and sisters. Even though we are planning to go to Paris this summer and will likely face your strike, we will gladly meet you in the streets and drink to your struggle. I say Liberté, égalité, beuverie! (by the way, beuverie means a drinking bout).

Source; Telegraph

Jonathan Turley

15 thoughts on “Liberté, égalité, beuverie! French Riot Police Threaten Strike . . . To Protect Their Right To Drink On Job”

  1. I just arrived back from traveling abroad 1 week ago. The ordeal my daughter and I, she an English as a second language teacher and I a registered nurse, suffered at the hands of the French police in a metro station on Easter Sunday night was disgusting. One minute we were drinking a few martinis in a French cafe in Paris meeting great people and the next being arrested and dragged to a station and terrorized and beaten for almost 48 hours when they told us we were free to go with no charges against us. I was looking for my metro ticket that I paid 30 euros for while sitting on the floor of the metro because there was nothing to sit on. We were approached by a man who began harassing us in French. we told him to leave us alone. Later we found out was a metro worker.They claimed we were drunk and violent. What happened was an absolute nightmare. We did nothing wrong. They are insane drinking or not. Here’ a picture of me one hour before|0|8CDD35D8EDB6470||0|0|0|0||&maxwidth=220&maxheight=160&size=Att

    Here is a picture of me two days later. Please note the bar and bench in the lower right hand corner of the picture that we were shackled to almost continuously between interrogations and hospital visits|0|8CDD35D8EDB6470||0|0|0|0||&maxwidth=220&maxheight=160&size=Att

  2. I suspected that the real issue was more like “a drink or two during lunch” rather than some right to wander the streets with a bottle of hooch in a paper bag. This sounds to be a similar problem with reporting the facts akin to the news reports that the retirement age in France “is 62.” (Hint: it isn’t for almost everyone…)

  3. I must say this is very misleading. The strike is _not_ to protect the permission to drink while on duty. The strike is to protect the permission to drink during lunch. The first difference is that it’s not in public. The second difference is that the quantities of alcohol allowed are controlled, at least from what I understood from the French newspapers.

    That being said, I am still in favor of total absence of alcohol in such a critical profession. There are situations where you don’t want to take any chances. It’s our lives they’re working with!

  4. On one hand, you need to understand how “les greves” and “les manifestations” work in most cases. While I was in school there, my parents came to visit – and the greve du jour was a nurses’ strike (all carefully coordinated to avoid any impact on patient care, of course). Lots of very nice folks in their hospital duds, carrying signs down the streets of Paris, insisting on reasonable pay and working conditions – and improvements for the quality of care for patients (crazy union thugs!) Around these nice nurses and their polite “manefestasion” were the scary dudes in their helmets and body armor, with batons and shields.

    Thus, 99.99% of the time, the cops could be passed out drunk in the streets and it wouldn’t matter. (Actually, with a protest group of nurses, they would probably be well cared for if they did pass out.) Everybody is organized and everybody comes out to strike or protest for one thing or another periodically. A huge percentage of these “manefestasions” are calm and well organized. Once in a while, things get heated, like high school students protesting for LONGER SCHOOL YEARS (I am not making this up) – they were demanding higher quality educations, and flipped some cars and smashed some windows to make their point heard.

    On the other hand – French “police” (aka interior ministry troops) have been savage bastards, including the 1961 killing a significant number (estimates from 40 to 200) of Algerian immigrants/”guest workers”. Some were driven into the Seine, others were beaten unconscious, then thrown off bridges into the river, and others were trucked to police headquarters and simply beaten to death. (Some of the murdering police officers removed the ID from their uniforms – a technique recently seen with London police officers while beating and “kettling” protesters.) It didn’t help that the police commander in 1961 was a Nazi/Vichy collaborator who was later convicted of crimes against humanity for his WWII era activities.

  5. Can’t have a bunch of well-strapped dudes goin’ cold-turkey on us in the middle of a confrontation with the bad guys …

  6. I did not know that the “Stay Thirsty My Friends” dude was French.

    I did know that the guy who said “Ah yes, reminds me of the time I was forced to live on food and water for three days” was French. (W.C. “Frenchy” Fields).

    Vive la France …

  7. Buddha,

    If you are special forces….well….not enough fire power…. They need firecrackers and M-80s’…..

    Why not…. bring em over here to run Exxons’s ships….

  8. anon nurse,

    I have no problem with that idea but being merry usually doesn’t involve riot shields, batons and guns.

  9. I cannot remember the source so take it for what it is worth, I read that this organization is highly trained and effectice and brutal.

  10. “After all, if the French cannot have a glass of wine while fighting terror, the terrorists have won.” -Jonathan Turley

    Hear, hear. I say, eat, drink, drink a little more, and be merry”…

  11. What? France is my favorite country when it comes to worker’s rights, but allowing armed police force to drink while on duty? Wouldn’t that affect their judgment and their ability to make critical decisions during high stress situation?

    They do have law against drinking and driving, don’t they? Wouldn’t operating a handgun while under influence of alcohol be a major concern for everyone’s safety?

  12. Whoops, that didn’t embed properly. Oh well — you can follow the link if you like, it’s Drink With Me from the 25th Anniversary concert of Les Miserables.

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