A handful of animal rights activists who were taken into police custody as they tried to unfold a banner at the annual July Fourth hot dog eating contest at Nathan's Famous in New York have been released without charges.

The demonstrators say they're from a group called Direct Action Everywhere, and want Nathan's to stop holding the contest.

Police say they took five people into custody on Tuesday, brought them to a precinct for questioning and then released them.

Another group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, separately had members giving away free vegan hot dogs outside the event.

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut won the men's division for the 10th time, by eating 72 hot dogs and buns. Miki Sudo won the women's division with 41 hot dogs and buns.

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