Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer
Posted: 11/11/2011 04:37:50 PM PST

Members of Occupy Wall Street-inspired groups from throughout region will protest together today as Occupy Inland Empire for the first time in a rally in San Bernardino.

The group plans to march on sidewalks in front of City Hall and downtown banks in in what they call a “visibility action” from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. near the intersection of Third and D streets.

The event also will be the first time “Occupy San Bernardino” is meeting as a group.

Participants locally and throughout the nation say they are unhappy about what they call corporate greed and want to bring attention to increasing poverty and wealth disparity in the nation. The movement began when protesters began meeting in New York City several weeks ago as part of Occupy Wall Street.

“This Saturday will be our first general assembly meeting,” said Hector Guzman, a San Bernardino Valley College student who helps maintain the new Occupy San Bernardino Facebook page. “San Bernardino needs the support of all from the Inland Empire because it has been (economically) hit the hardest in all the nation. That’s why we feel San Bernardino is a very important place to launch the first action for Occupy Inland Empire.”

Members of Occupy groups in Fontana, Redlands, Riverside, Victorville, and Rialto recently agreed at a meeting in Riverside last Sunday to meet as a consolidated Occupy Inland Empire group for events as a way to help bring greater awareness for their cause.

Tommy Purvis of Occupy Fontana will be attending the San Bernardino event.

“I’m very optimistic about it because, for the first time, I know the Inland Empire is working beyond County lines and Congressional District lines,” Purvis said. “We’ve been divided in the past, but we’re coming together now.”

In addition to the formation of Occupy San Bernardino, Occupy Rialto also met for the first time in recent days. Jesse Beruman, also a student at San Bernardino Valley College, is with Occupy Rialto, which plans to participate in today’s Occupy Inland Empire, as well as a joint meeting with Occupy Fontana on the corner of Sierra and Seville avenues at noon on Sunday.

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