Hundreds protest Gbagbo detention in The Hague

Hundreds of Laurent Gbagbo loyalists protested in The Hague on Tuesday ahead of the former Ivorian president's pre-trial hearing at the International Criminal Court, where he faces charges of crimes against humanity.

Around 20 police watched over the 200-300 people taking part in the peaceful protest against the detention of Gbagbo, who lost a 2010 election to his rival, current President Alassane Ouattara.

"We're here because today president Gbagbo is to appear before the ICC even though he's a democratically elected president and the charges against him should be for Alassane Ouattara," said Hubert Seka, 43, who travelled from Italy.

Gbagbo, 67, is the first former head of state to appear before the ICC where judges are on Tuesday to hear arguments to confirm the charges of masterminding a campaign of violence during the 2010-2011 bloody election standoff in which 3,000 people died.

Many of the protesters arrived by coach from around Europe, wearing hats and wigs in the national colours and brandishing Ivorian flags while listening to music and speeches.