Occupy Wall Street-inspired groups in the Inland Empire plan to meet for the first time together in Riverside on Sunday as part of an effort to consolidate regional protest efforts.

Groups that have been meeting for the past several weeks in Fontana, Redlands, Victorville and Riverside to protest economic inequity want to meet as a larger, single "Occupy Inland Empire" group, participants said.

A meeting of the groups is set for noon Sunday at Fairmount Park in Riverside.

A consolidated effort would help generate greater awareness, group members said.

"Sunday is the big meeting," said Tommy Purvis, who helps coordinate Occupy Fontana meetings. "It's the first I.E. coordination to see how we can pull resources and people together to further the cause."

Sara Goose, who protests as part of Occupy Redlands, agrees that an Inland Empire group is a good idea.

"I'm for keeping it local," the Redlands resident said, "but I also think that in terms of demonstrating a presence for the Inland Empire, it's important that we occasionally come together as a geographic unit to support the same message."

The movement began when protesters began meeting in New York City several weeks ago as part of Occupy Wall Street. Participants 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 has swept across the nation with participants camping in or "occupying" their respective cities.

Among national events planned is a national "bank transfer" day on Saturday.

Occupy Redlands plans to participate in a teach-in at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Renaissance Banquet Hall, 19 E. Citrus Ave., Suite 202, and will assemble at noon at Redlands Boulevard and Seventh Street near a Bank of America.

As part of Saturday's event, Goose said, she is considering moving her money out of a large bank into a smaller community bank or a credit union.

"This is really something that an individual can do to try to balance out the financial power by supporting smaller banks," she said. "The whole movement is to try to take power away from these giant corporations."

Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College, says the movement has a chance to succeed if it adopts more traditional action.

Unhappiness with the Occupy Oakland movement was expressed Thursday over the unruly behavior of some protesters. Vandalism and clashes with police occurred after a mostly peaceful protest on Wednesday.

"The trouble is Occupy has an open-door policy," Pitney said. "When you open the door, a lot of undesirables walk in. At least some of the people involved in the Occupy Movement are looking to get a free meal or to make a buck and, as we saw in Oakland, the disorder is also a risk. That tends to turn off average voters.

"In order to make a political impact, they have to adopt more conventional tactics. You have to go out and raise money, support candidates and do the other things political organizations do."

Goose said she believes the movement should continue to be open to all despite the behavior of some.

"I think what happened in Oakland really got the media's attention," Goose said. "It's media-worthy, but I think it's not representative of most of the people in the movement. There is a lot of talk and reiteration about using peaceful methods to getting the point across."


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