French Riot Cops Battle Lunchtime Booze Ban Police threaten to strike if they can't have beer, wine with meals By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff Posted Apr 22, 2011 2:25 AM CDT 6 comments Comments Thirsty work: French riot police officers detain a youth during clashes in Lyon. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani, File) (Newser) – French riot police are threatening to go on strike unless authorities restore their right to drink on the job. The force used to be allowed to have beer or wine with lunch—alcoholic beverages were even included in packed lunches. But authorities banned drinking on duty after photos appeared of uniformed riot cops swigging from cans of beer and smoking on the sidelines of a student protest in Paris, the Guardian reports. Bosses are "trying to turn us into priests, but without the altar wine," complains the head of a police union. "Nobody should object to a small drink on jobs," he says. "Our right to drink alcohol with our food is protected by the law, and our members are very unhappy at being treated like children."