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"Occupy" protesters garner increased support

In New York, the protest is called "Occupy Wall Street" - but around the nation, where the movement is picking up steam, it's being called "Occupy Together."

This week, CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reported on "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," demonstrations were held in more than a dozen cities, from Los Angeles to Richmond, Va., to downtown Minneapolis, Minn.

In Minneapolis, one demonstrator told CBS News, "We're here because we want the big dudes to start paying."

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More demonstrations are scheduled this weekend in cities like Indianapolis, Ind.

The website, the unofficial hub for all of the events springing up across the country in solidarity with Occupy Wall St., claims there are online supporters in more than 900 cities.

This week, unions joined the protest, marching through New York's Financial District during rush hour Wednesday.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, told CBS News, "They are basically sending us a message that says, 'Don't create a society where one percent basically has all the wealth.'"

Approximately 5,000 people marched on Foley Square in New York Wednesday. By late evening, police and protesters clashed, and 23 people were arrested.

The downtown Manhattan encampment that started it all is attracting a steady stream of onlookers - and reinforcements, including Michelle Snyder, who stops by every day on her lunch hour.

When asked about what she sees as the purpose of the protests - which were not formed by a centralized leadership - Snyder told CBS News, "In the end, it's to stop the economy from going into such a downward spiral. Really we all just want our middle-class back."

Frustration over the gap between the wealthiest and the middle-class is one theme, Miller said. But there are as many messages as there are cardboard signs spread along the sidewalk. ,/P>

Those who came by Zuccotti Park in New York's Financial District, curious to figure out the point of the protest, seemed a bit confused.

Aaron Green, an investment manager, said, "Most of them are kind of hanging out, doesn't look like they're doing too much."

But, Miller reported, there's no sign the protesters in New York (or elsewhere) are packing up their signs any time soon.

One New York protester said, "There's no ending date, there's no designated date that it's ending, it's growing every day."

On "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," Michael Daly, special correspondent for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, said people protesting are not necessarily accomplish something - but rather, express something.

He said, "The one thing that runs through all of them is that a feeling that there is just a fundamental unfairness. From their point of view, the very people who almost wrecked the U.S. economy on Wall Street continue to get wealthy while working people are struggling to pay their bills. I mean, it comes down to that."

Though the protests are going strong now, Daly says the weather might be the determining factor as to when the "occupation" ends.

"It's not the the Arab Spring, it's the New York Fall," he said. "It's going to get cold. I think the friend for the policemen, in this case, may be the weather."

There is no curfew at New York's Zuccotti Park, which has enabled the protesters to camp out there. But the protesters are expected to march to Washington Square Park, which does have a curfew. Daly said that could put an end to today's protests.

"Early Show" co-anchor Russ Mitchell noted President Obama said he understood them and House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor called them a "growing mob" on Friday. "What do these types of comments do to the protesters in terms of their resolve?" he aske dDaly.

"You know, the people are talking about them," he replied. "If nobody was talking about them, I think that would probably send them home. But if you have the President of the United States acknowledging you and if you had the Republicans calling you a mob, then you're really starting a conversation ... they ARE accomplishing something."

Mitchell said to Daly, "You're sympathetic to the protesters. You wrote this week they are being arrested and being handcuffed, but the people they are protesting have not been handcuffed."

Daly responded, "Sympathetic in the sense there is an unfairness. You can wreck the U.S. economy and you don't end up in handcuffs, but if you make a left-hand turn on the Brooklyn Bridge, you get collared. It's not a question of law enforcement, it's a question of the law.

"The law is very clear - if you go and block traffic, you're going to get arrested. The law is not so clear if you're a rating agency and you inflate ratings in order to get more business."

Daly says he's not surprised the movement has gotten this expansive.

"The least American thing is unfairness," he said. "I mean, the whole country got started with fairness. The original 'tea party' was all about fairness. The Constitution is a document about fairness, and if there is a wide feeling there is unfairness, then, you know, it shouldn't surprise anybody."

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