Polish man held in custody after Danish PM Frederiksen assault

June 9, 2024 10:08 am

[Source: Reuters]

A 39-year old Polish man was remanded in custody for 12 days over an assault the previous day on Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, which authorities said caused her to suffer a minor neck injury.

Frederiksen sustained a minor whiplash injury from the alleged assault, which occurred in a square in Copenhangen’s centre when a man walked up and hit the politician.

“Thank you for the many, many, many greetings with support and backing. It’s incredibly touching,” the prime minister told Ritzau news agency in a written statement on Saturday.

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“I am saddened and shaken by the episode yesterday, but am otherwise safe. For once, I need peace. Both for body and soul. I need to be with my family and need to be myself for a bit,” Frederiksen added.

Several EU leaders condemned Friday’s incident, which happened just three weeks after Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico was seriously injured in an assassination attempt.

“This is completely unacceptable and is an attack on our open, democratic societies,” Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told news agency NTB of the assault on Frederiksen.

Danish police said the alleged attacker was under the influence of alcohol and drugs at the time and said he was unaware that the victim was Denmark’s prime minister.

“There is nothing to indicate a political motive,” the man’s lawyer told a Copenhagen court on Saturday. The incident happened two days before Danes head to the polls in European Union elections.

“Danish authorities have told us that the person detained is a Polish citizen, who has been staying in Denmark for some time,” a Polish foreign ministry spokesperson was cited by Polish state radio as saying.

“We see it as a single, spontaneous act, and we do not currently have it as a guiding hypothesis in our investigation that it was a planned attack on the prime minister,” Copenhagen police inspector Trine Moller told Ritzau news agency.

All the Danish prime minister’s official scheduled events on Saturday were cancelled, her office said.

Frederiksen was able to walk away after the assault, Soren Kjergaard, a local coffee-shop worker, told Reuters after seeing her being escorted away by security.

A month ago, three German politicians suffered assaults ahead of European Parliament and district council elections and more attacks followed earlier this week.