In Chile, bubbling frustration boiled over into deadly, full-blown protests over the weekend after the government announced what amounted to a four-cent subway fare hike in the country’s capital.
In Brazil in 2013, it was a 20-cent bus fare increase that finally brought growing unrest to the surface.
In Hong Kong, protests that have been ongoing for more than 100 days began over an unpopular bill.
In isolation, each of the events that set off the protests is relatively mild. After all, what’s another few cents to ride the train?
But each served as a “triggering event” for the region’s citizens, tipping long-simmering frustration toward violent protests, according to Thomas Vicino, who is a professor of political science, public policy, and urban affairs at Northeastern.