WATCH: Anti-rape protest in Rio de Janeiro makes global headlines

Underwear and photos have taken over Copacabana beach

Brazil, rape, protest, Rio de Janeiro, Copacabana beach, underwear, Rio de Paz

Marcio Freitas' photos themed "I'll Never Be Silent" of models portraying the anguish suffered by abused women, and 420 pairs of underwear, are displayed on Copacabana beach | Image: Felipe Dana / AP/Press Association Images

A protest against rape of women in Brazil is making headlines around the world.

The campaign was started after a 16-year-old girl was allegedly gang raped by dozens of men.

The case has rocked Latin America's largest nation, and highlighted its endemic problem of violence against women.

As part of the protest in Rio de Janeiro, 420 red and white pairs of underwear were laid out in the sand of the city’s famous Copacabana beach on June 6th.

An activist stands in front of the exhibition on Copacabana beach | Image: Facebook/Rio de Paz

Activists also posed with pictures of models, representing female victims of sexual abuse.

The photos by Marcio are themed "I Will Never Be Silent".

Image: Facebook/Rio de Paz

 The organisers of the campaign 'Rio de Paz' - "Peaceful Rio" - say the strewn panties represent the number of women raped every 72 hours in Brazil.

This amounts to some 50,000 women per year, it says.

The founder of ‘Rio de Paz’, Antonio Carlos-Costa, is calling on his government to take action now.

Marcio Freitas' photos themed "I'll Never Be Silent" of models portraying the anguish suffered by abused women, and 420 pairs of underwear, are displayed on Copacabana beach | Image: Felipe Dana / AP/Press Association Images

"As important as combating abuse against women is, preventive actions by government are more necessary every day”, he says.

He also says education and protection “in low-income communities” are needed, where women in a “socially vulnerable” state

The Washington Post says: “Rapes are often unreported and their victims silenced - but in this instance (of the alleged gang rape), photos and even a video were uploaded to social media, apparently in some sort of wicked bragging competition.”

India Today says the display remained on sand until nightfall “so it could be viewed by thousands of Brazilians and tourists who visit Copacabana every day.”

While Russia Today says there are plan to exhibit 100 of these pictures in other cities in Brazil to raise awareness about the issue.

Fox News reports three of those accused in the alleged gang rape were arrested - including the boyfriend of the victim - who was later released for lack of evidence.

While a protest in solidarity with the Rio campaign took place in Cork last Friday, including members of the Cork Feminista organisation.

Brazil - and Rio de Janeiro in particular - are being scrutinised, as thousands of fans from around the world get ready to descend on the region for the 2016 Olympic Games.

The summer games are being held from August  5th to 21st.