Man, I REALLY need to start watching Avatar. I've actually never seen the whole thing.See, though, the Purifiers are just crazy bigots. The Equalists actually have a valid point. I find myself really wondering if they're bad or just using the wrong methods, because some of their ideas are hard not to agree with.
Think about it. The city is governed by five Benders, one of whom represents the "Air Nomads", which consists of four Airbenders, Pema, and those other guys we saw in "Leaf in the Wind." Yet Tenzin gets as much of a vote for thirty people, max, as does the Earth Nation's ambassador for thousands, possibly millions, of Earth Nation civilians. There's also not any non-Bender representative on the Council.
The police force is a bunch of Metal Benders, who go around in their airships arresting people. The powerplants are worked by Fire-Benders using Lightning. The city's filled with gangsters called "Triple Triads" who use their Bending to intimidate people, and hardly anything's being done about it. The only athletes we see that are watched/listened to are Pro-Benders.
The Equalists also really haven't done anything "evil" to anyone who was, per say, innocent. The people we say Amon take Bending away from? All Triple Triad members (and he thought Bolin was, as well.) He's messing with Korra, sure, but she's pretty much let him know she's going to try and stop him from succeeding in his revolution.
So far, I'm thinking they're people who've seen a major problem with Republic City and want it to be addressed. Far more relatable than the Purifiers. I mean, with Republic City, if you're not a Bender, so many doors close to you, and none of the Benders seem to care.