Hundreds of loyalists have picketed Belfast City Hall after the council met for the first time since its controversial decision to limit the flying of the Union flag on the building.

The demonstration in the city centre came after four successive nights of rioting in the east of the city linked to the flag dispute.

Earlier Northern Ireland's Chief Constable claimed senior members of the paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) orchestrated last week's street violence in east Belfast.

However, Matt Baggott said there was no evidence that the UVF leadership endorsed the unrest.

Loyalist protests have been continuing across Northern Ireland since early December in response to the decision by Belfast City councillors to only fly the flag above City Hall on designated days instead of all year round.

The first of these days is this Wednesday - when the flag will be raised to mark the birthday of the Duchess of Cambridge.