The banners and placards were the first sign this was not your average protest: "science not silence", "yes to evidence-based policy and peer review", "science doesn't care what you believe, it cares about facts".
Last weekend's protest march in support of science and research saw more than 3000 people in Melbourne supporting thousands more around Australia and tens of thousands in the US and elsewhere including Brazil and Chile. There were plenty of jokes at their own expense, such as battle cries of "nerds rule", but the message at the heart of this action was deadly serious: many in the global scientific community feel that they and their work are under threat.
In Melbourne, two Nobel Prize winners addressed the crowd, each stressing that while the issues at stake were apolitical, there was an urgent need for action to combat the major threats to the global culture of science and robust scientific research.
Professor Peter Doherty, a highly respected immunologist and Australia's eighth Nobel Laureate in science, argued that there had never been a more desperate need for a clear understanding of what is happening with, for example, the atmosphere, oceans and climate.
Read the Editorial in today’s Melbourne Age - “We need science, not more hot air.”