On Halloween night, October 31, 1969, sixty members of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF) and the Society for Individual Rights (SIR) staged a protest at the offices of the San Francisco Examiner in response to another in a series of news articles disparaging LGBT people in San Francisco's gay bars and clubs. The peaceful protest against the "homophobic editorial policies" of the Examiner turned tumultuous and were later called "Friday of the Purple Hand" and "Bloody Friday of the Purple Hand". Examiner employees "dumped a bag of printers' ink from the third story window of the newspaper building onto the crowd". Some reports were that it was a barrel of ink poured from the roof of the building. The protestors "used the ink to scrawl "Gay Power" and other slogans on the building walls" and stamp purple hand prints "throughout downtown San Francisco" resulting in "one of the most visible demonstrations of gay power". According to Larry LittleJohn, then president of SIR, "At that point, the tactical squad arrived -- not to get the employees who dumped the ink, but to arrest the demonstrators who were the victims. The police could have surrounded the Examiner building... but, no, they went after the gays... Somebody could have been hurt if that ink had gotten into their eyes, but the police came racing in with their clubs swinging, knocking people to the ground. it was unbelievable." The accounts of police brutality include women being thrown to the ground and protesters' teeth being knocked out.
Inspired by "Black Hand" (La Mano Nera in Italian) extortion methods of Camorra gangsters and the Mafia, some GLBT activists attempted to institute "purple hand" as a gay and lesbian symbol as a warning to stop anti-gay attacks, with little success. In Turkey, the LGBT rights organization MorEl Eskisehir LGBTT Olusumu (Purple Hand Eskisehir LGBT Formation), also bears the name of this symbol.