Stonewall riots

The Stonewall riots (also known as the Stonewall uprising or the Stonewall rebellion) were a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the gay community[note 1] in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City, New York, United States of America. Patrons of the Stonewall, other Village lesbian and gay bars, and neighborhood street people fought back when the police became violent. The riots are widely considered a watershed event that transformed the gay liberation movement and the twentieth-century fight for LGBT rights in the United States.[3][4][5]

Stonewall riots
Part of events leading to the
Gay liberation movement
The only known photograph taken during the first night of riots, by freelance photographer Joseph Ambrosini, shows gay youth scuffling with police.[1]
DateJune 28 – July 3, 1969 (1969-06-28 1969-07-03)[2]
Location
40°44′01.67″N 74°00′07.56″W
GoalsGay liberation and LGBT rights in the United States
MethodsRioting, street protests
Parties to the civil conflict
New York Police Department
  • Tactical Patrol Force
  • Fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth Precincts
Stonewall Inn patrons
Number
Day 1: 10 NYPD officers (inside the Inn)
Day 2: Multiple NYPD precincts
Day 1: 500–600 supporters outside
Day 2: ~1,000 supporters inside and outside

As was common for gay bars in the USA at the time, the Stonewall Inn was owned by the Mafia.[6][7][8] While police raids on gay bars were routine in the 1960s, officers quickly lost control of the situation at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969. Tensions between New York City Police and gay residents of Greenwich Village erupted into more protests the next evening and again several nights later. Within weeks, Village residents organized into activist groups demanding the right to live openly regarding their sexual orientation, and without fear of being arrested. The new activist organizations concentrated on confrontational tactics, and within months three newspapers were established to promote rights for gay men and lesbians.

A year after the uprising, to mark the anniversary on June 28, 1970, the first gay pride marches took place in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.[9] Within a few years, gay rights organizations were founded across the US and the world. Today, LGBT Pride events are held annually in June in honor of the Stonewall riots.

The Stonewall National Monument was established at the site in 2016.[10] An estimated 5 million participants commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising,[11] and on June 6, 2019, New York City Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill rendered a formal apology for the actions of officers at Stonewall in 1969.[12][13]


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