Johnny Mansfield came to the state Capitol armed with a pitchfork Saturday afternoon.
Mansfield, 55, of Oklahoma City, was one of about 200 people participating in the Occupy OKC protest on the steps of the state Capitol.
The protest and others like it in cities and towns across the nation are a spin off from the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Taped to Mansfield's pitchfork was a sign that read “The peasants are
Others in the peaceful but revved up crowd carried signs that read: “People over profits” and “Stop the greed.”
Mansfield doesn't fit the typical profile of a protester, but as a small-business owner he struggles to make ends meet and worries about what he believes is a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the richest one percent in the country over the past 30 years.
“The amazing thing about this movement is that it is leaderless,” Mansfield said. “It's people of all walks of life standing up and saying they've had enough. That's one of the reasons it's been able to stay in the news for so long. It has changed our national debate.”
Like Mansfield, John Scripsick, 60, doesn't fit the mold of a protester. The Wayne resident farms wheat and came to the protest clad in Wrangler jeans and a trucker cap.
Scripsick spoke to the crowd about the Iraq War, which he believes was spawned by greed for oil.
The war also came with an immense personal cost in the loss of his son, Bryan, who was killed in Iraq in 2007.
“He gave his life, so the least I can do is come up here and say something,” Scripsick said.
Grant Swofford, 27, drove to the Capitol from Shawnee along with his friend Melissa Hibben, 29.
Swofford is a cook at Chili's. Like most of the protesters, he is motivated by what he views as a transfer of wealth away from the poor and middle class.
“The richest one percent controls 45 to 50 percent of this country's wealth,” he said. “We're not asking for other people's money. What we want is fairness.”
Hibben said she has followed the Occupy Wall Street movement rise to the national level. She believes it's here to stay.
“People are struggling,” she said. “They want answers. This movement will continue for a lot of reasons, including the Internet, which has been a big tool. There are a lot of people out there who are willing to listen.”