Nearly 200 people braved the drizzle on Saturday afternoon to take part in the March for Science on the Place Clairefontaine in Luxembourg City.
Photo: DA Luxembourg
Although more of a demonstration in Luxembourg, the movement took place worldwide, coinciding with Earth Day. It’s estimated that over 1 million people--researchers, students, scientists included--participated globally, although the figures were still being tallied at the time of publication.
Luxembourg City was one of over 600 satellite cities participating in the event.
According to volunteers of Women’s March Luxembourg, which organised the 22 April event, the march was simply to celebrate science. For this, stands were set up during the event, which lasted from 2-4pm, which invited participants to take “science selfies” with a number of props and with one of the volunteers, who was dressed up like a scientist.
Participants could also share their ideas on sticky notes, answering two questions: one about what science means in general, and one about what governments worldwide can do to better support science. Organisers will later share these suggestions with the public. Near the sticky note station was an area with poster board and markers, where demonstrators could make their own signs. Each time people completed an activity, they received raffle tickets to win t-shirts at the end of the event.
Around 2:30pm, the group had a small march around the Grand Duchess Charlotte statue, repeating slogans such as, “Science, not silence!” At 2:45pm, attendees gathered for a group photo.
Many had their children with them to celebrate science. Others were there for a more political cause, while others simply were there to exchange ideas and business cards.
A political perspective
László Sándor was one of the approximately 15 volunteers who helped organise the day. He said, “At Harvard I was fortunate to see firsthand how evidence-based policy, randomised controlled trials, behavioural science and economics revolutionised government and public services…it breaks my heart to see this endangered.” He added that he was marching not just for these purposes, but also to “call attention to closed universities and dismissed or event exiled faculty in Turkey”.
Sándor has plenty of ideas for governments with regards to science. He proposes, for example, that various institutions in Luxembourg consider running “an agile campaign to offer quick visas, an office and salary for ‘visitors’ stranded until their [H1B] visa applications are processed in the US”.
Although the march was non-partisan in nature and welcome to all nationalities, Democrats Abroad Luxembourg lent their support to the march. “In the current American political climate, we feel an urgent need to stand and speak in favor of fact-based policies and public support of research in all disciplines but particularly those that study climate, energy, and criminal justice,” said Will Bakker, DA Luxembourg chair.
The march was organised by the newly formed Women’s March Luxembourg group, which will provide follow-up information via their Facebook page.