NEW YORK - From committed anarchists to zealots for the White House aspirations of libertarian Ron Paul, it takes every kind of person to make up a broad-based occupation of Lower Manhattan in 2011. Although the extreme political fringes were in short supply in Zuccotti Park yesterday, some unique causes were on display, including:
* Myra Oppy, 32, a law student from Lincoln, Neb., stood on the corner of Broadway and Liberty with a sign boasting that she'd driven 21 hours in a carpool to get here. Why? So that she could lobby for her quixotic cause: a ballot proposition to legalize industrial hemp and other forms of pot in socially conservative Nebraska.
* David Intrator, a man in his mid-50s attired in a gray suit and silk tie, attracted considerable media attention for his sign proclaiming "Harvard Men for Economic Justice," with the distinctive coat of arms of the Ivy League school. The 1978 Harvard grad said that no one noticed him last week when he arrived in street clothes with his saxophone. "I believe that people other than young people have not been appropriately represented by the mainstream media," he said.
* A man carrying a large sign headlined "Nazi Bankers," who was loudly muttering something about Jews, also attracted considerable attention, all of it negative. Eventually, two of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators followed him with their own signs that read "Not Us" and "This Does Not Represent Us."
So what does represent Occupy Wall Street? Protesters said that they're united in a belief that corporations have too much power in American society - especially in the political system - and that the voices of what they call "the Other 99 Percent" are not being heard by government or the media.
Some demonstrators said that the lack of a specific demand - the subject of considerable criticism in some quarters - is actually what has caused the movement to grow over the last 17 days, because it accommodates so many diverse viewpoints.
- Will Bunch