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Movements such as India’s struggle for independence inspire protests  

Playing the role of a riot cop dispersing a peaceful but illegal sit-in on the steps of France’s National Assembly, Axel struggled to dislodge a woman. It was like trying to pull a limpet off a rock — he couldn’t get a grip.

Welcome to Non-Violent Civil Disobedience 101, a one-day basic training for people who have decided they may need to break the law to further a good cause.

For most of the 55 people attending a course in Paris on Saturdays, the driving concern was climate change and the gathering pace at which the earth’s species are disappearing.

On Monday, a group called Extinction Rebellion launched a campaign in major cities worldwide.

XR, as the group is known, looked to historic examples of civil disobedience — such as the push for Indian independence — for inspiration.

Back in class, instructor Remi Filliau gave Axel a tip on how to pry loose his quarry.

Reaching from behind, Mr. Axel placed an index finger under the young woman’s nose and pulled up sharply, dragging her across.

“Police are allowed to use that technique. But they are not allowed to tickle — that is considered sexual harassment,” he said.

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