Under what conditions do nonviolent demonstrations escalate to violence? I answer this question using a novel theory of individual impatience in protests that begin peacefully. Rather than considering protest groups as unitary actors, I present a theory of collective action in which a group’s decision over whether or not to engage in anti-government violence is the product of individual preferences. Individuals involved in a nonviolent demonstration use the immediacy of their needs and the sustainability of collective action to decide whether or not to initiate violence against the state. Specifically, I hypothesize that the likelihood of violent escalation will increase when the food price increases and unemployment rate is high or when the event is spontaneous. Analysis of a Bayesian multilevel model of 2,405 nonviolent demonstrations from 1991 to 2017 in Africa and Latin America supports my expectations.