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Occupy L.A. marks one-year anniversary with rally and march

October 1, 2012 |  2:21 pm

Occupy LA
Marking the one-year anniversary of downtown action that resulted in the massive encampment at City Hall, a couple hundred Occupy L.A. supporters gathered Monday in Pershing Square for a planned rally and march through the area.

Protesters prepared for a march through downtown, with signs and banners reading "Bankers Behind Bars" in support of income equality.

Pershing Square, the area covered in chalk protest writings, has become the center of the downtown Occupy L.A. movement since protesters were ousted from the City Hall lawn. Protesters are scheduled to march at 2:30 p.m.

“We will demonstrate at banks and other financial and governmental institutions representing the damaging interests of the 1%, who both caused, and yet have benefited from, the economic collapse and hardship they have visited on the rest of us,” the group said in a statement.

Some of the crowd wore an "American Spring" shirt, a play off the Arab Spring uprisings that have helped overthrow governments in the Middle East.

Protesters were ousted last winter from the City Hall lawn that they dubbed "Solidarity Park." City leaders had initially welcomed the group there last October as part of a nationwide protest against income inequality.

They were granted an exemption from laws regulating overnight camping in parks.  But concerns about health and safety, as well as the deteriorating condition of the lawn, prompted officials to evict the protesters two months later.

Since then, Occupy L.A. has held encampments on skid row and outside of the Central Cities Assn., a downtown business group.

Tensions have been high recently, with business owners complaining about violence and vandalism by the protesters. In August, 17 people were arrested at the monthly downtown Art Walk after police moved in on a group of protesters chalking the sidewalks.

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-- Richard Winton

Photo: Occupy Los Angeles member James Hill shows off his Crayola chalk holder as he prepares to do "chalk art" at Pershing Square in August. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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