Union Flag lowered at Belfast City Hall

Belfast streets remained free of violence last night as the Union Flag was lowered at City Hall. It had been flown yesterday to mark the Duchess of Cambridge's birthday.

Unionist politicians involved in attempts to defuse the dispute that has resulted in riots since December had hoped that the reappearance of the flag would halt the protests.

There was a sixth consecutive night of violence in east Belfast on Tuesday with petrol bombs and bricks thrown at police riot squad officers following further demonstrations against the council's decision to restrict the number of days that Union Flag is flown at city hall to 17 days in the year.