Civil disobedience is the public act of willfully disobeying the law and/or the commands of an authority figure, to make a political statement. Participants expect to be arrested, and are frequently charged with crimes such as trespass, failure to disperse, or failure to obey an officer. Civil disobedience is generally understood to be nonviolent, although some have argued that violent acts can also be considered a form of civil disobedience.
The purpose of civil disobedience is to convey a political message, which is accomplished through increased media coverage of the issue. Also, if the law broken is the law being protested, it sends the message to authority figures that people consider the law so unjust, they are willing to openly disobey it. An example of this is Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat on a city bus to a white person, as was required by law in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama. Another purpose can be the disruption of the organization being protested.
In the United States, common types of civil disobedience include staging a sit-in at a government or corporate office, blocking traffic or doorways, or merely being in a location where the person is not allowed to be.