This story comes courtesy of Neon Tommy.

By Sarah Parvini

It was a familiar scene in downtown Los Angeles Monday, as hundreds of activists gathered in Pershing Square for a rally marking the one-year anniversary of Occupy L.A.

Under the glaring sun and record heat, members of the "99 percent" wrote down their messages of protest ("Feed the people," "This is hypocrisy not democracy") with chalk while LAPD officers observed from a distance, ready to break up the crowd if things got out of hand.

“Instead of being out arresting drunk drivers or responding to calls, we have to be here to babysit these people,” one LAPD officer said as he sat on his motorcycle, his annoyance palpable.

A mix of scents permeated the air--from the marijuana being smoked by those who want it legalized, to cigarette fumes and the smell of sizzling water on white-hot concrete.

Chanting "From New York to L.A. occupy the U.S.A." and "El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido," Occupy supporters prepared to march through the area and protest what they call corporate greed.

Among the crowd was Nelson Gist, 70, who traveled from the Coachella Valley to show solidarity and support for the Occupy movement. A former steelworker and Teamster, Nelson believes capitalism is the country's biggest problem.

"The disparity of income is becoming bigger and bigger," he said. "I don't see this as just a boom and bust. I see this downturn as a qualitative change...I don't think the middle class is coming back."

Throughout the throngs of people, some wore the now-infamous "V For Vendetta" masks that have become associated with the movement--and groups like Anonymous--while others wore jackets describing their activism as the "American Spring," a clear play on the Arab Spring protests that have spread throughout the Middle East and stirred unrest.

Occupiers were evicted from the City Hall lawn, known as "Solidarity Park," last fall after protesting for two months. The activists were initially welcomed by city officials, but they were kicked out as unrest grew and health issues rose out of grimy conditions.

Protesters claim complaints about the cleanliness of the camp were just an excuse to kick them out and squelch the movement, citing their sanitation crews and porta potties as evidence. There is now a curfew in place at City Hall; people have to be out of the park by 10:30 p.m.

“A lot of people would face arrest if they tried to camp in the park,” said Occupy activist Julie Levine, who took on the roll of "legal observer" early on in the gathering. “Police wouldn’t hesitate to [take action] if they tried.”

The LAPD agreed.

Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage of Occupy L.A., including the one-year anniversary march, here.

PHOTOS:
Loading Slideshow...
  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: Alex Chavaria wears a dollar bill over his mouth as protesters rally in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: A protester holds a sign during a rally in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: A protester steps on an American flay during a march in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year- anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: A protester holds an American flag during rally in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: An anti-Obama chalk message is left by protesters rallying in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: A protester passes a man sitting on a bench during a march in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: Protesters march in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: Protesters rally in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: Alex Chavaria encourages people to boycott Starbucks with a chalk message at a rally in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: A woman chalks a message on the sidewalk as protesters rally in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: Protesters pass a man sitting on a bench during a march in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: A protester writes a message in chalk on a branch office of Bank of America during a march in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: Protesters hold up signs in the window of the Central City Association headquarters during a march in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: A demonstrator tries to give motorists literature as protesters march in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: Protesters rally in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: Protesters rally in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: Protesters rally in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: A protester holds a sign during a rally in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: Protesters rally in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: Protesters stop to demonstrate outside a Bank of America branch as they march in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

  • Occupy Los Angeles Holds March And Rally On One-Year Anniversary

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1: Occupy demonstrator Nicole Riley (R) argues with a counter-demonstrator as they rally in the downtown financial district to mark the one-year anniversary of the Occupy movement on October 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. Inspired by Occupy Wall Street movement protests in New York, hundreds of Los Angeles demonstrators seized City Hall park last year and lived there for weeks until they were evicted in a dramatic police raid on the night of November 30, 2011. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)