Danish PM assault not ‘politically motivated,’ police say

Police in Denmark said Saturday an assault on the country’s prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, was likely not “politically motivated.”

Details of the incident remain unclear but local media said the man forcefully walked toward Frederiksen and pushed her hard while she was passing Kultorvet Square, one of the main piazzas, in the capital Copenhagen on Friday.

“It is currently not our guiding hypothesis that the incident was politically motivated,” police said in a statement posted to X, formerly Twitter.

The statement added that the 39-year-old suspect appeared in court Saturday and was remanded in custody until June 20.

Frederiksen suffered a “minor whiplash injury” in the attack, her office said earlier on Saturday.

“Apart from that, the Prime Minister is safe and sound, but she is shocked by the incident,” the office added in a statement.

Frederiksen’s official events on Saturday have been canceled so she can rest.

Details of assault remain sketchy

Two eyewitnesses told local media they saw a man walking toward the prime minister and then “pushing her hard on the shoulder so she was shoved aside.” They stressed that she did not fall down.

Another witness told a newspaper that a well-dressed man, who seemed part of Frederiksen’s protection unit, and a police officer took down the assailant.

Frederiksen was rushed to a hospital for a check-up soon after the attack as a precaution.

The incident came just two days before Danes head to the polls to vote in the European Parliament elections.

EU politicians condemn attack

In response, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Dear @Statsmin Mette, I was so shocked at the news of you being assaulted tonight. I condemn this despicable act which goes against everything we believe and fight for in Europe. I wish you strength and courage — I know you have plenty of both.” 

Both EU Council chief Charles Michel and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola slammed the assault on Frederiksen.

Michel said on the X platform he was “outraged” and “I strongly condemn this cowardly act of aggression.” Metsola, who called the attack “appalling”, said in her own post: “Violence has no place in politics.” 

Growing number of incidents

There have been violent attacks on European politicians in recent days and weeks.

On Tuesday a politician from far-right Alternative for Germany party was stabbed by a suspect wielding a box cutter in Mannheim in the country’s southwest, according to police.

That attack came just days after a man was filmed stabbing the police officer and five members of an anti-Islam group calling itself PAX Europa at a booth in the same city. The police officer died days later.

Last month, Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico was targeted in an assassination attempt and is currently recovering.

Also last month European Parliament candidate Matthias Ecke of Germany’s center-left Social Democrats suffered a broken cheekbone and eye socket in an attack in Dresden.

mm, dh, kb/lo (Reuters, AP)