AUSTIN (KXAN) — Thousands of people participated in Austin’s March for Science at the Texas Capitol to show support for science and research Saturday afternoon. Demonstrators filled the Capitol’s south lawn, carrying signs and starting the day with “science teach-ins.”

Austin joined cities around the world where activists marched to defend science from attacks and reduced federal funding.

“It is what keeps us alive and going every day,” participant Simone Laurent said about being there. “And specifically to stand up for more women in science and STEM jobs.”

James Woolbert, an engineer and a member of the advocacy group 314 Action, said he wants more elected officials to take strong stands in support of science.

“We’re a science advocacy group for climate change awareness and STEM education in public schools. We’re trying to get science-minded people elected to public office, statewide, nationwide, citwide, everything,” he said.

Organizers said the goal of the “March for Science” is to support the ideal that scientific integrity plays an important role in government decisions and to highlight the vital role science plays in a democracy.

After the rally at the Capitol, the group marched to Huston-Tillotson University in east Austin where an Earth Day celebration was held.

Other cities staging marches include Washington, Berlin, London and Sydney, along with hundreds of smaller communities.

The marches on behalf of science were part of global Earth Day.