"The only thing we rescued from there was our lives"

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On Saturday 15 October 2011, Jodis Encarnación and his wife woke up, as they do every day, at 7am. Just like any other day, they got the children up and ready and they drove them to Jodis mother’s house on their way to work in the outskirts of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

But as his shift as a taxi driver was only starting, Jodis received a desperate call from a neighbor.

“The police are here, with bulldozers, they are knocking down all the houses,” the neighbor said.

The car journey back to Alto Brisas del Este, the community where Jodis lives, took him 15 minutes but by the time he arrived, his home was gone and with it, everything his family owned. In its place, there was only a pile of rubble.

“Our house was completely destroyed, there was nothing left. We were not even able to save a spoon, nothing,” Jodis told an Amnesty International team in Alto Brisas.

Jodis’ family is one of 75 who were violently evicted, without judicial order, by 300 police and military personnel.

Video taken by community residents on the day of the eviction shows police and military officers, together with representatives from the local Mayor’s office taking away mattresses, fridges and clothes and tractors knocking down the fragile stone and wood houses.

This news video features video from the Santo Domingo eviction on 15 October 2011 and an interview with Javier Zuniga, Special Advisor at Amnesty International.