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South Africans outraged over alleged rape of disabled girl, video of attack

Chris Collingridge / AFP - Getty Images

The seven suspects accused of gang raping a 17-year-old Soweto girl appear at the Roodepoort Regional Court, on April 19, 2012. EDITOR'S NOTE: The identity of the suspects has been digitally altered before msnbc.com received the image.

Protesters gathered outside a courthouse in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Thursday where eight suspects appeared in connection with the alleged gang rape of a mentally disabled 17-year-old girl, the BBC reported.

According to the report, protesters held signs that read "let them rot in jail" and "done with rapists."

The assault surfaced when a cellphone video of the attack went viral on the Web. According to local media, the video shows the suspects -- the youngest of whom is 14 -- laughing during the alleged rape of the girl, who is said to have the mental capacity of a 5-year-old. The girl can be heard screaming, "You are forcing me."

"When does it become acceptable amongst a group of peers to rape a girl and laugh about it? It just makes one sick to the stomach," women's league of the governing African National Congress said, according to The Guardian.

Violent attacks are common in South Africa; about 56,000 rapes were reported in the country last year, according to the BBC. Many more victims are said to remain silent.

The girl had been missing for weeks, The Guardian reported, but police were only prompted to act after the video surfaced.

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