Danish PM Frederiksen suffers gentle ‘whiplash’ after assault

Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen suffered a “minor whiplash injury” after being attacked by a man in central Copenhagen on Friday, her office said in a statement on Saturday.

“Apart from that, the Prime Minister is safe and sound, but she is shocked by the incident,” the office said, adding that all the prime minister’s official events on Saturday have been cancelled.

“Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was hit by a man Friday evening on Kultorvet in Copenhagen. The man was subsequently arrested,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement to the AFP news agency. 

Frederiksen appeared physically unharmed and was able to walk away from the venue herself, reported news agencies.

Copenhagen police confirm arrest 

The Copenhagen police confirmed an incident involving the prime minister but did not initially provide any further details.

“We have one person arrested in the case, which we are now investigating. At this time, we have no further comments or remarks on the case,” police said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday.

On Saturday, police said they were taking the 39-year-old man before the Copenhagen City Court for questioning at around 1 pm local time (1100 GMT). 

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

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 chief Charles Michel and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola slammed the assault on Mette.

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 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.

dh, kb/lo (Reuters, AP)