PARIS • Thousands of people rallied in support of science in Europe and Australasia ahead of a march in Washington, triggered by rising concern over populism and so-called alternative facts.
Yesterday's March for Science demonstrations were organised in response to what is seen as mounting political pressure on facts-based evidence.
The casualties of this assault, say organisers, include efforts to fight climate change, the teaching of evolution and sexual health and budgets for vital research.
Protesters in Sydney wearing white lab coats called on politicians to support the scientific community, carrying banners reading "without science, it's just fiction" and "we need thinkers not deniers".
Demonstrators also turned out in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and other cities as well as Wellington and Auckland in New Zealand.
"In this day and age, there's so much fake news and alternate facts going around that it's important to remember that science is what has built the society we know today," Parissa Zand, who was at the Sydney march with her molecular biologist mother, told Agence France-Presse.
Protesters in major university cities in Europe posted pictures on Twitter of marches in Bonn, Helsinki, Munich and Stockholm.
In Paris, a banner in French read: "We are the resistance against the orange menace in Washington! Defend science!"
Other rallies were planned for Brazil, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria and South Korea - part of a campaign expected to unfold in more than 600 cities globally.
But the biggest turnout by far was expected in Washington.
Tens of thousands of people were expected to gather yesterday. Rally-goers carried signs with science themes: "In peer review we trust" and "The oceans are rising, and so are we".
The rally began late last night Singapore time and was expected to end with a march to the foot of Capitol Hill.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, WASHINGTON POST