A bonfire at Bloomfield Walkway in slot east Belfast was removed overnight by contractors hired by the City Council.
Ch Supt Andy Freeburn said police were there at the request of the council "to ensure that the contractors were not obstructed, to ensure their safety and the safety of the public as a whole".
A 16-year-old boy, arrested on suspicion of disorderly behaviour, has since been released.
In 2018, a court ordered that a bonfire on Bloomfield Walkway be lowered.
However, it was set alight before contractors could remove material.
Last week at the Policing Board, the chief constable said two or three bonfires out of about 250 were causing concern.