Suspect to face preliminary questioning after assault on Danish PM Frederiksen

By Thomson Reuters Jun 8, 2024 | 2:31 AM

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Danish police said on Saturday a 39-year-old man would appear in front of a judge for preliminary questioning in relation to an assault on the country’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in central Copenhagen late on Friday.

Frederiksen, leader of Denmark’s Social Democratic Party and prime minister since 2019, was shocked after being beaten by a man at Kultorvet square in Copenhagen on Friday, her office said in a statement on Friday.

The prime minister was able to walk away and had no outward signs of harm after the assault, Soren Kjergaard, who works as a barista in central Copenhagen, told Reuters after seeing her being escorted away by security.

Police said the man would be brought before the Copenhagen City Court for questioning at around 1 p.m. (1100 GMT), but declined to provide more detail.

Neither the police nor the prime minister’s office said anything about the man’s motive or whether he had carried a weapon.

The assault comes two days before Danes head to the polls in the European Union election.

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

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

“The attack on Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen is an intolerable act of violence that represents an attack on the heart of democratic values,” Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on X.

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president said on X:

“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.”

(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)