The show has a history of disobedience.

By Christopher Luu
Aug 26, 2019 @ 9:30 pm

The MTV VMAs red carpet had to compete with some real-life drama. No, Taylor Swift wasn't actually interrupted, but some of the stars making their big entrances were upstaged by an actual arrest. WCBS Radio reports that protesters outside of the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, where the big show is being held, were taken into custody after making a scene and climbing on top of a traffic light.

This is the very first time that the awards show has been hosted at the Prudential Center. Newark is facing a clean water crisis similar to the one in Flint, Michigan, which was what the picketers were trying to bring attention to. An organization called the Newark Water Coalition and its allies organized the demonstration, hoping to shine a spotlight on the local water crisis, which has reportedly affected more than 15,000 homes. Dangerously high levels of lead have been found in the area and residents have been told to use bottled water for drinking and cooking.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

"The people of Newark deserve clean, safe, drinkable water," a Brightest.io page, which was promoting the Newark March For Clean Water (which it also called the MTV VMA Protest), read. "On Monday, August 26th the MTV Video Music Awards are coming to Newark, and the Newark Water Coalition and allies will be there to usher the event in with chants for CLEAN WATER FOR NEWARK!"

Twitter users spread the news as quickly as they were sharing their opinions on Lizzo's entrance gown and Taylor Swift's performance.

Local police officers on horseback attempted to keep protesters from getting through barricades.

While the MTV telecast didn't show any of the action, it's clear that the citizens of Newark managed to get their point across. Newark Public Safety Director Anthony F.  Ambrose released a statement saying that there was a special area set apart from the crowds for protestors to use. In total, there were five arrests.

"Any time you have a large crowd, you have to expect a few unruly people," Ambrose said. "We knew the protestors were coming and we set aside an area for them to gather, in support of their Constitutional Rights. “Apparently, some were not satisfied with that arrangement and they tried to breach secure areas."

According to Rolling Stone, there was a more high-profile arrest back in 2000. That year, Rage Against the Machine bassist Tim Commerford interrupted an accepta

Advertisement