David Ford MLA said: “The current violence is the end of a line that began last summer when rulings of the Parade’s Commission were openly defied. Then in the autumn we saw 40,000 inflammatory leaflets distributed by Unionists that stirred up tensions.
“We have seen so called peaceful protests that have been anything but peaceful. These protests have had the support of Unionist Leaders. Do they not remember what happened on Clifton Street when people were called onto the streets?
“These protests have undermined the rule of law, damaged the local economy, injured around 100 police officers, damaged our inward investment potential and have resulted in young people now having a criminal record. We have seen a re-sectarianisation of Northern Ireland.
“We need a united approach from the Assembly to this trouble. All sides must tone down the language that they are using. We have already seen too many comments inflaming the situation. Those that continue to use the decision that Belfast City Council took as a rallying call must recognise that it took a legitimate democratic decision.
“We cannot blur the line between lawful and peaceful protest from what we have seen over the past six weeks. We must end all protests now. This society requires policing by consent which is why there must be full support for the police and an end to the criticism.
“We need politicians not to feed fear but to resolve issues that creates fear. We must work together on a cross community basis to overcome fear and build a genuine shared future.”