Politicians and church leaders have held talks aimed at ending the recent loyalist street violence in Northern Ireland.

The leaders met at Rev Mervyn Gibson's Westbourne Presbyterian Church in Belfast to try and forge a resolution following rioting and attacks on police over the past week.

Pro-Unionists are protesting over the decision to reduce the number of days the Union flag is flown over Belfast City Hall.

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The Democratic Unionist Party's Robin Newton said a lack of engagement from protest organisers made it tough to see an end to the unrest.

He said: "We have to find a way out of this, but how we do it I don't know."

Mr Newton said there was confusion about what protesters wanted, amid calls for an end to devolution.

He said the British National Party and other far-right groups had been addressing rallies.

He said: "I think we need a bit of calm and reflection. We need to get wise heads together."

Michael Copeland, Ulster Unionist Party MLA, was pessimistic about a positive outcome to the talks, as there was a lack of leadership among protesters.

He said: "There doesn't seem to be any one person, or group of persons, that we can go to."