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NEW YORK (CBSNEWS/AP) – Scientists, students and research advocates rallied from the Brandenburg Gate to the Washington Monument on Earth Day, conveying a global message of scientific freedom without political interference and spending necessary to make future breakthroughs possible.

The March for Science, coinciding with Earth Day, was set for more than 500 cities, anchored in Washington, D.C., and to be joined by dozens of nonpartisan scientific professional societies in a turnout intended to combine political and how-to science demonstrations.

“When the first time in recorded history scientists have to get together to form a march in support of science, something serious is going on,” Rockefeller University’s Erich Jarvis told CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook, who is covering the march in Washington.

Organizers portrayed the march as political but not partisan, promoting the understanding of science as well as defending it from various attacks. They cited proposed federal cuts to the National Institutes of Health totaling $6 billion, or 18 percent of the institute’s budget.

President Donald Trump, in an Earth Day statement hours after the marches kicked off, said that “rigorous science depends not on ideology, but on a spirit of honest inquiry and robust debate.”

*READ MORE AT CBSNEWS.COM*