THE body representing traders in Belfast has condemned the recent violence as damaging the image of the city.
Speaking on Tuesday, Joe Jordan, the president of the Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce, said the law must be upheld.
“The violence has had a very damaging effect on the image and economy of our city at such a crucial trading time,” he said.
“Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce unreservedly condemns the recent violence in the city.
“The traders and business people of Belfast have a difficult enough time without suffering further losses.
“Belfast is the gateway to the rest of Northern Ireland and the economy of our capital city is vital to the wellbeing of the whole country.”
There was a violent protest on December 3, when the controversial Union Flag motion was voted through by city councillors.
A further demonstration, although peaceful, brought almost 2,000 protesters to the City Hall on Saturday causing concern for traders.
Earlier this week, Mr Jordan questioned the wisdom of a flag vote at Christmas and said: “It’s not really a question of how sympathetic retailers are to the protestors, and to the debate about the Union Flag.
“It really boils down to more who is responsible for creating the protest.”