Five people were arrested at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island on Tuesday, police said.
Shortly after the men’s competition began around 12:40 p.m., a handful of attendees were seen getting on each other’s shoulders in what looked like an attempt to flag the attention of nearby television cameras.
A few of them tried to hold up a banner, but the jostling crowd made whatever was on the sign indistinguishable.
The attendees were only up on their fellows’ shoulders for a few seconds before NYPD officers bolted into the crowd and wrestled them to the ground.
One onlooker appeared to have his glasses broken in the incident.
The animal rights activist group Direct Action Everywhere claimed responsibility for the interruption, which it described as a protest. Police could not immediately confirm if the arrestees were animal rights protesters.
“The activists were protesting because companies like Nathan’s promote violence against animals by showcasing people eating them for profits and notoriety,” Direct Action Everywhere said in an emailed statement.
The five people were taken away in handcuffs and later charged with civil disobedience, police said.
About 1,000 people attended the annual Fourth of July event. Joey Chestnut won the men’s title by eating a record-breaking 72 hot dogs and buns. Miki Sudo won the women’s title by scarfing down 41.