‘I am not quite myself,’ says Danish PM in first TV interview since assault

11 June 2024, 14:54

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen attends a ceremony at the Danish monument outside of Sainte Marie du Mont, Normandy
Denmark Prime Minister Assault. Picture: PA

Mette Frederiksen suffered a minor whiplash after a man assaulted her in central Copenhagen on Friday.

In her first television interview since she was assaulted last week, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said “I am not quite myself,” but will continue to work mostly from her office.

Ms Frederiksen, who suffered a minor whiplash after a man had assaulted her Friday in central Copenhagen, said in her first reaction the following day that she was ok.

Ms Frederiksen gave no details of the assault on Tuesday when she spoke in a television interview, but said “it was very intimidating when someone crosses the last physical limit you have. There is some shock and surprise in that”.

She said it was “probably also an accumulation of many other things. Threats over a long period of time on social media have gotten worse, especially after the war in the Middle East. Shouting in public space. Maybe that was the final straw.”

“As a human being, it feels like an attack on me,” Ms Frederiksen said in the 10-minute-long interview.

“But I have no doubt that it was the prime minister that was hit. In this way, it also becomes a kind of attack on all of us.”

“I would rather have a Denmark where the prime minister can bicycle to work without being worried,” she said.

“I am Mette at my core, but I am the country’s prime minister. Thus, an institution that you must not attack like the police.”

A 39-year-old Polish man living in Denmark was arrested and held in pre-trial custody until June 20 on preliminary charges of violence against a person in public service.

Danish Premier Mette Frederiksen and her husband Bo Tengberg arrive at the official international ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day
Danish Premier Mette Frederiksen and her husband Bo Tengberg arrive at the official international ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day (Jordan Pettitt/AP)

In Denmark, preliminary charges are one step short of formal ones but allow authorities to keep criminal suspects in custody during an investigation.

The motive for the assault was unclear.

In court, the suspect who was not identified, reportedly praised Ms Frederiksen as “a really good prime minister,” and investigators suspect he was under the influence of drugs and intoxicated at the time of the incident that happened just before 6pm local time on Friday.

Media reports said the man walked towards Ms Frederiksen and pushed her hard while she was passing one of Copenhagen’s main squares.

He hit her upper right arm with a clenched fist.

Ms Frederiksen has not appeared in public since the attack and has not participated in public party events as the results of Sunday’s European Parliament elections started coming in.

Her party, the Social Democrats, faced a loss in the vote.

Ms Frederiksen, 46, has been Denmark’s prime minister since 2019.

By Press Association

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