I'd described the memoir in the earlier post as 'beautifully judged' and reading this part again I recognise now that much of it is hardly judged at all. I found just a handful of words that could be construed as pejorative. There was no explicit condemnation; it was inferred by the reader from description and the odd telling juxtaposition. The description, though, does get through an awful lot of work:
In the narrow street below my window the students were shouting and smashing. The plate-glass windows of the shops appeared to step back, shudder for a second, and then give up the ghost, as the reflections suddenly left them and they slid in jagged fragments to the ground. Cars rose into the air and landed on their sides, their juices flowing from unseen wounds. The air was filled with triumphant shouts, as one by one the lamp-posts and bollards were uprooted and piled on the tarmac, to form a barricade against the next van-load of policemen.
The van - known as a panier à salade on account of the wire mesh that covered its windows - came cautiously round the corner from the Rue Descartes, jerked to a halt, and disgorged a score of frightened policemen. They were greeted by flying cobblestones and several of them fell. One rolled over on the ground clutching his face, from which the blood streamed through tightly clenched fingers. There was an exultant shout, the injured policeman was helped into the van, and the students ran off down a side-street, sneering at the cochons and throwing Parthian cobbles as they went.Being put in someone's shoes is always more powerful than being told what to think.