An Extinction Rebellion protester with police in Melbourne (Image: AAP/James Ross)

Perhaps it’s the name. “Extinction Rebellion” evokes the masked insurgents in the movie V for Vendetta. Maybe that’s what’s scaring otherwise sane politicians into saying some weirdly extreme things about the protesters who’ve been disrupting traffic.

We are talking about a protest movement which has so far aligned with Gandhi’s mantra of non-violent action, and whose sole aim is to draw attention to climate change. Not exactly Islamic State, is it? But you wouldn’t know the difference from the policing response.