The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the gay community 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. 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.
As was common for gay bars at the time, the Stonewall Inn was owned by the Mafia. 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.