Danish PM suffers whiplash after assault in Copenhagen

<span>Mette Frederiksen became Denmark’s youngest prime minister when first elected in 2019.</span><span>Photograph: Mads Claus Rasmussen/EPA</span>
Mette Frederiksen became Denmark’s youngest prime minister when first elected in 2019.Photograph: Mads Claus Rasmussen/EPA

An attack on the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, which left her “shaken” and with a whiplash injury, was probably not “politically motivated”, Danish authorities have said.

A 39-year-old Polish man, who was apprehended after allegedly hitting the prime minister on Friday evening, was remanded in custody until 20 June after appearing before a Copenhagen court, the prosecutor Taruh Sekeroglu told reporters.

“It is not our guiding … hypothesis that there is a political motive here. But that is something that the police of course will investigate,” Sekeroglu said.

Frederiksen, a Social Democrat who has been prime minister since 2019 and has been tipped as a contender for a top EU post, had been taken to hospital for a check-up and her official events for Saturday had been cancelled, the prime minister’s office said.

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The incident on Friday came two days before Danish voters go to the polls in the European elections, and after several incidents of violence against politicians in Europe.

In May, Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, was shot and seriously injured.

On Saturday Fico published a photo of himself voting in hospital in the European parliament elections.

A member of the European parliament from Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) was hit while putting up posters in Dresden. A German senator was briefly sent to hospital after being struck over the head.

And on Tuesday, a candidate for the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party was stabbed in the south-west German city of Mannheim.

European leaders condemned the assault in Denmark. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, called the attack “unacceptable”.

The Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, said she was “deeply shocked,” while Romania’s president, Klaus Iohannis, said he was “appalled by the cowardly assault”.

The EU Commission chief, Ursula von der Leyen, also condemned what she called a “despicable act which goes against everything we believe and fight for in Europe”, in a statement on social media.

Frederiksen became Denmark’s youngest prime minister in 2019 and kept the post after emerging victorious in the 2022 general election.