These riots were political. They were looting, not shoplifting
Sunday 14th August 2011,
, Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP
I remember his face. I was on the Boulevard St Michel on a student demonstration. A posh-looking man sitting in a restaurant near the window looked up at the protestors and sneered. I'd seen that look before. I'd been studying in Paris for a few months by then. I'd seen it on the faces of the cops who had beaten me up in the metro and those who stopped and questioned me almost daily, or the landlords whose available flats disappeared when I showed up. It was a look that told me I didn't matter and couldn't do a thing about it.