Just after 3 a.m., a police raid of the Stonewall Inn—a gay club located on New York City’s Christopher Street—turns violent as patrons and local sympathizers begin rioting against the police.
Although the police were legally justified in raiding the club, which was serving liquor without a license among other violations, New York’s gay community had grown weary of the police department targeting gay clubs, many of which had already been closed. Soon, the crowd began throwing bottles at the police. The protest spilled over into the neighboring streets, and order was not restored until the deployment of New York’s riot police.
The Stonewall Riots were followed by several days of demonstrations in New York and was the impetus for the formation of the Gay Liberation Front as well as other gay, lesbian and bisexual civil rights organizations. It’s also regarded by many as history’s first major protest on behalf of equal rights for homosexuals.