In 1969, riots broke out in front of a gay bar in New York. Martin Boyce, 21 years old at the time, tells the microphone of Europe 1 his state of mind then.


New York is hosting this year's World Gay Pride and commemorates the 50th anniversary of the riots that followed the police raid on June 28, 1969, in the Stonewall bar. Today, this bar proudly displays its colors: a rainbow flag on its old brick facade. But 50 years ago, it was a gay underground bar regularly targeted by raids of law enforcement. At the time, homosexuality was still illegal.

"I saw a cop push a drag-queen into the van," remembers Martin Boyce, who was 21 at the time. "She hit him and he pulled back, it was the first sign that it was not going to happen as usual." Instead of running away, Martin and his friends walk towards the policeman. "And there, the riot started: Gays, lesbians and transvestites threw all they could on the police," he says. "Too much was enough, we had enough, we were illegal, ostracized by society," he says.

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Bar elevated to national monument

A year later, to commemorate this unprecedented rebellion, homosexuals decided to march through the streets of Manhattan to express their pride, giving birth to the first Gay Pride. "It was heroic," Martin recalls. "Stonewall, for me it's a verb, because now we have rights and a place in society." In 2016, US President Barack Obama raised the bar and the adjacent small park to the rank of a national monument in the same way as the Statue of Liberty.