Northern Ireland's Stormont Assembly has passed a motion condemning recent street violence and intimidation.

However, a number of unionist representatives indicated they intend to return to the flying of the union flag issue at a later date.

The leaders of all the main parties contributed to this debate. It lasted little more than an hour.

There was the sense that the politicians were conscious of the volatile situation on the streets and that, as a result, the brakes were being applied in the Council Chamber.

The speakers included David Ford, Northern Ireland's Justice minister and leader of the Alliance Party.

His colleagues on Belfast City Council proposed the compromise motion to limit the flying of the union flag over Belfast City to 17 days.

In the times since several Alliance members have been targeted.

He defended the stance taken by his party on Belfast City Council.

Jim Alister is the sole Assembly member of the Traditional Unionist Voice party. He is anti-Good Friday Agreement.

Twice during his speech he suggested that Culture is Sinn Fein's new weapon in the theatre of war.

But like all the speakers, he was unequivocal in his attitude towards the violence of recent times.

He told anyone who could not go to a demonstration without a stone in his pocket should stay at home.

Beyond Stormont, the volatile mood continues.

There is talk of further street protests today. And a school planning to attend a function at Belfast City Hall tonight have been advised to cancel it by the PSNI.

Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said last week's violence was orchestrated.

He said that the UVF and the UDA were involved in the trouble.

Three 13-year-old boys were among several youths and men charged for taking part in weekend riots, which waned yesterday.

The PSNI said a number of protests over the flag controversy passed without incident.

Nearly 2,000 people attended a demonstration at City Hall on Saturday.

Senior police had warned loyalist paramilitaries had been orchestrating some of the violence that has marred the city at the end of last week and appealed for calm.

Political figures also called for an end to riots and disturbances.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission condemned the action.

Professor Michael O'Flaherty, chief commissioner, said its first annual report was being published following a year in which the past has continued to haunt the present.

"Only last week we witnessed outrageous scenes of violence and intimidation when police, elected representatives and public servants were attacked," he said.

The violence, which has left 28 police officers with injuries, overshadowed a visit to Northern Ireland by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.