One of chief organisers of street demonstrations in protest against the lowering of the Union flag above Belfast City Hall was arrested today.

Police detained Willie Frazer, 52, as part of new investigations into the staging of illegal parades.

Many of the protests, which have been going on since before Christmas when the city council voted to fly the flag only on designated days, have erupted in violence, particularly in east Belfast.

Loyalist paramilitaries were heavily involved in the disturbances.

At one stage there were nightly demonstrations, but they have been scaled back to Saturday afternoons outside City Hall.

Even though 149 people have been arrested and charged, Chief Constable Matt Baggott has been under increasing pressure from nationalist politicians to take a harder line against the protests.

Almost 150 of his officers have been injured in the disturbances.