Four people were arrested Tuesday when Alameda County Sheriff's deputies showed up to evict a group of homeless mothers who'd taken up residence in a vacant home in Oakland, Calif. NBC News and the Mercury News report that members of Moms 4 Housing, an activist group trying to call attention to the homelessness and affordable housing problem in the area, moved in November into the empty home owned by development company Wedgewood Properties and had been embroiled in a legal battle since. Wedgewood had previously served the women with an eviction notice, which they fought in court. On Friday, however, an Alameda County judge ruled the women had to leave the home, giving the sheriff's office five days to help vacate them. And that eviction process Tuesday, with hundreds of supporters present, was a "tense and dramatic scene," per the Mercury News.
The raid included dozens of deputies with assault rifles and riot gear who broke down the door with a battering ram. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was "shocked" at the raid's tactics, calling the activists' move "a courageous act of civil disobedience to really highlight our housing crisis," per KTVU. The four arrested—two Moms 4 Housing members and two supporters—were hit with misdemeanor charges of resisting and obstructing the eviction. "The sad fact is when you steal someone's house, this is what happens," a Wedgewood rep tells NBC. Moms 4 Housing, however, calls it an "act of war." "This isn't over, and it won't be over until everyone in the Oakland community has a safe and dignified place to live," one of the evicted moms says in a statement, adding to CNN the moms had offered to buy the home for the original price from Wedgewood (which flips houses), but were rebuffed. (Read more homeless stories.)