Chris Lyttle MLA said: “I am acutely aware of the anger of the business community to the disruption and violence that we have seen in recent weeks.
“I am also acutely aware of the need to find a long term solution. The Alliance Party has unequivocally called for the protests to stop. I have personally spoken to a number of protestors to explain the misconceptions that they have around the Union Flag issue and to highlight the damage that they are causing to viable businesses and services in our community.
“We are also supporting the BackinBelfast and BackinEastBelfast campaigns. We have produced our shared future strategy, which is the only long term solution to addressing inequality and fostering economic growth.
“While I may not agree with every press story it is a key part of any democracy for there to be freedom of the press. It is therefore outrageously ill-judged and anti-democratic for Joe Jordan and DUP MLA Gordon Dunne to attack the media for shining a light on the distribution of 40,000 misleading leaflets, the systematic targeting of men, women and children in my party, the attempted murder of PSNI officers and organised violence on our streets.
“It is the responsibility of the protesters and those carrying out the violence for the negative news stories that are being beamed out from Northern Ireland.”