JUST a handful of loyalist protesters staged a demonstration at Belfast City Hall last night, despite vowing to hold mass demonstrations at monthly council meetings across the north.
In another sign that the protests are waning, around 20 people gathered at last night's demonstration with the crowd leaving after just 40 minutes.
Despite the low turnout, there was a heavy police presence around city hall with lines of police Land Rovers sealing off the back of the building.
A large number of police officers lined the streets at both the front and back of the building.
The group of loyalists, some carrying Union flags and one carrying a banner, began gathering in the rain after 6pm.
However, after just 40 minutes the protesters - which included several women and a few children - dispersed.
Last night's small demonstration came just days after a key protest group said mass loyalist roadblocks were to stop.
The Ulster People's Forum (UPF) said they would only take part in white-line demonstrations.
But the group insisted it would maintain its protests at the monthly council meetings.
It said its members had made the "positive step" to protest without blocking roads.
Loyalist street demonstrations have been taking place since Belfast City Council voted to limit the number of days the Union flag is flown at city hall.
Loyalists have held widespread protests - some of them violent - following the vote on December 3.
The majority of the street demon-strations have passed without incident, but some have resulted in serious rioting.
Following the vote, an initially peaceful protest turned violent when loyalists attacked police. A small group of loyalists then stormed the back gates of city hall and damaged a car in the courtyard.
Last night's small demonstration was also in stark contrast to a protest last month, which saw violence erupt as the crowds of loyal-ists made their way home.
Around 400 loyalist protesters had descended on the city hall on January 7 to coincide with the first full city council meeting since the decision to restrict the flying of the Union flag from the building in December.
Police fired baton rounds and used water cannon when they were attacked by hundreds of loyalist protesters during rioting in east Belfast.
Petrol bombs, paint bombs, fireworks and bricks were thrown at officers on lower Newtownards Road.
Meanwhile, last night there were a small number of demonstrations in other parts of the north, including Dundonald in east Belfast, Omagh and Lisburn.