Danish PM suffers minor whiplash after being assaulted in Copenhagen

8 June 2024, 12:54

The Danish PM casts a vote
European Election Denmark. Picture: PA

A man is due to appear in court after Mette Frederiksen was apparently shoved.

The Danish Prime Minister’s office has said the premier has suffered minor whiplash but is otherwise fine after a man assaulted her in central Copenhagen.

Police confirmed “there has been an incident” involving Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and that a 39-year-old man was arrested on Friday.

Ms Frederiksen was rushed to a hospital for a check-up soon afterwards, and though unharmed, she was “shaken by the incident”, according to her office, who added that she has cancelled her programme for the day to rest.

Authorities said a man will appear at a pre-trial custody hearing before Copenhagen District Court in connection with the incident.

Details remain unclear, but local media reported that a man seems to have forcefully walked toward Ms Frederiksen and pushed her hard while she was passing Kultorvet Square, one of Copenhagen’s main piazzas.

Two eyewitnesses, Anna Ravn and Marie Adrian, told the daily BT that they saw a man walking toward Ms Frederiksen and then “pushing her hard on the shoulder so she was shoved aside”. They stressed that the premier did not fall down.

Another witness, Kasper Jorgensen, told the Ekstra Bladet tabloid that a well-dressed man, who seemed part of Ms Frederiksen’s protection unit, and a police officer took down the alleged assailant.

Soren Kjaergaard, who was working at a local bar on Kultorvet Square where the incident happened, told the BT that he saw Ms Frederiksen after the incident and she had no visible injuries to her face but walked away quickly.

The Prime Minister’s office told the Danish state broadcaster DR on Friday that Ms Frederiksen was “shocked” by what happened.

Politicians in the Scandinavian country and abroad condemned the reported assault.

Jens Stoltenberg, Nato Secretary-General, said he was shocked to hear what happened to Ms Frederiksen, whom he called a friend.

“NATO allies stand together to protect our values, freedom, democracy and our rule of law,” Stoltenberg wrote on the social media platform, X, on Saturday.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said that “an attack on a democratically elected leader is also an attack on our democracy”, while Charles Michel, president of the European Council, condemned on X what he called a “cowardly act of aggression”.

European Union parliamentary elections are currently under way in Denmark and the rest of the 27-nation bloc and will conclude on Sunday.

Ms Frederiksen has been campaigning with the Social Democrats’ EU lead candidate, Christel Schaldemose.

Media reports said the attack was not linked to a campaign event.

The Danish PM speaks at a D-Day commemoration
It is not clear if Ms Frederiksen was hurt during the incident (AP)

Violence against politicians has become a theme in the run-up to the EU elections. In May, a candidate from Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats was beaten and seriously injured while campaigning for a seat in the European Parliament.

In Slovakia, the election campaign was overshadowed by an attempt to assassinate populist Prime Minister Robert Fico on May 15, sending shockwaves through the nation of 5.4 million and reverberating throughout Europe.

Assaults on politicians in Denmark are rare.

On March 23 2003, two activists threw red paint on then-Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen inside the parliament and were immediately arrested. Then-foreign minister Per Stig Moller also suffered some splashes that day.

By Press Association

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