Justice Minister David Ford has said there can be no excuses for the violence during which 26 police officers were injured.
David Ford said: "Violence is wrong and no cause, no dispute, no disagreement can justify it. The scenes of loyalist protesters attacking the police service will quickly replace the positive images many have worked hard to deliver in recent weeks.
"Some individuals and groups may not agree with determinations from the Parades Commission, but they do have the weight of the law behind them. Until we come up with an alternative way to deal with contentious parades the police are required to put themselves in the front line to uphold those determinations.
"There were no winners last night, but I know there will be losers amongst the retailers and communities directly affected. I am confident that over the coming days and weeks those involved in the violence will be the main losers as the police begin gathering evidence and carrying out arrests.
"I thank the officers who were on duty in Belfast and send my best wishes to those injured."