Police in Belfast remain on alert
Police in Belfast remained on high alert today despite only minor disturbances reported after a protest by loyalists.
Several men and four youths - aged 13 to 17 - have been charged with public order offences over trouble around the city on Friday night and yesterday afternoon.
All will appear in court either tomorrow morning or in the new year.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said a protest at City Hall yesterday against new restrictions on flying the Union flag passed off largely without incident.
However pockets of disorder have been reported, including in east Belfast where a police officer was injured.
Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr said loyalist paramilitaries had been orchestrating some of the violence seen in recent days.
He appealed for calm and urged those involved in disorder to move forward
“It is time for everyone to take a step back from this and think seriously about the consequences, not just for themselves, but also for Northern Ireland as a whole, for the economy, for jobs, for tourism,” he added.
The violence - which has left 27 police officers injured - overshadowed a visit to Northern Ireland by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
Much of the anger has been directed towards the Alliance Party, whose councillors in Belfast voted to limit the number of days the Union flag could be flown over the city hall from 365 to 17.
A death threat was made against the party’s only MP, Naomi Long, while a constituency office in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, was destroyed in an arson attack and three councillors had their homes vandalised.
Belfast city councillor Laura McNamee was also advised to leave her home.