Gans, Chaim, A more obvious difference between civil disobedience and conscientious objection is that, whereas the former is invariably illegal, sometimes the latter is legal. Mill maintains in On Liberty that if there are any persons who contest a received opinion, we should thank them for it, open our minds to listen to them, and rejoice that there is someone to do for us what we otherwise ought to do ourselves Mill It has been a major tactic of different nationalist movements in India and Africa as well as anti-war, labor, civil rights, and other social movements in different countries across the globe.
Briefly, the right to civil disobedience could be grounded on something other than participation rights such as a right to object on the basis of conscience.
As such, persons who engage in political disobedience may view current policy as the best compromise between the need to act and the need to accommodate continued debate.
Mercy involves a charitable concern for the well-being of the offender as a potential recipient of deserved punishment. Other civil disobedients who favour the existence of government still don't believe in the legitimacy of their particular government, or don't believe in the legitimacy of a particular law it has enacted.
In other words, civil disobedients can either breach the law they oppose or breach a law which, other things being equal, they do not oppose in order to demonstrate their protest against another law or policy.