Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/01/2011 05:49:37 PM PST

Occupy groups in the Inland Empire are continuing consolidation efforts through the formation of a new Occupy San Bernardino Valley group, which will meet for the first time in front of San Bernardino City Hall at noon on Saturday.

Organizers, who had helped form Occupy movements in Fontana, Rialto and San Bernardino, said merging into one group would improve their numbers, visibility and planning. Numbers at the local general assembly meetings have been relatively small compared with the hundreds involved with Occupy Riverside to the south and Occupy Los Angeles to the west.

“If we have more numbers put together, instead of everybody being spread out, then we’ll be stronger and we’ll be able to progress more in this movement and we’ll be able to reach our goals even faster,” said Hector Guzman, an organizer for Occupy San Bernardino.

Protesters at various Occupy groups throughout Southern California said they are protesting economic injustice, the impact of money in politics and for civil rights, among other issues. The groups are leaderless and decision-making is through 90 percent consensus. Encampment on public grounds has been a way to assert First Amendment rights, they say.

Tommy Purvis, who has helped coordinate Occupy Fontana through meetings and Facebook, said participants in each city will still maintain their respective Occupy Facebook pages, but general assembly meetings, where decisions are made, will be held through the new group.

“We’re consolidating so we can take collective action,” Purvis said. “We don’t have an encampment, so when we come together, we need to talk about what actions we need to take. We’re still at phase one in terms of what other occupations have done. When we meet, we’ll decide if we have an encampment, a mobile encampment where we camp every weekend, or if we have quick `flash’ occupations, where we show up in certain areas.”

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