Denmark’s Prime Minister Says She’s ‘Not Quite Myself’ After Assault - The World News

Denmark’s Prime Minister Says She’s ‘Not Quite Myself’ After Assault

Four days after being assaulted in a busy Copenhagen square, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen of Denmark said she was carrying out her duties as leader but still recovering, in her first interview since the assault.

“I am not quite myself yet,” said Ms. Frederiksen in an interview on Tuesday with DR, Denmark’s public broadcaster, adding that she had stepped back from some activities against the backdrop of elections for the European Parliament on Sunday.

Ms. Frederiksen said that she had needed time with family after the assault, which left her shaken and concerned about the tenor of political debate. “It is very intimidating that there is someone who crosses the last physical limit that you have,” she said.

Ms. Frederiksen, the leader of the center-left Social Democrats, was in Kultorvet, a busy square in Copenhagen’s Old Town, when she was assaulted on Friday. The police said that a man hit the prime minister with a clenched fist on her right upper arm, according to DR, and her office said that she had sustained minor whiplash.

The police in Copenhagen arrested a 39-year-old man in relation to the assault, and have said that they do not believe it was politically motivated. The man pleaded not guilty to preliminary charges of violence against a person in public service in a court on Saturday, according to DR.

The man said he did not disagree with Ms. Frederiksen’s political positions and called her a “really good prime minister,” DR reported, adding that the police said it was probable that he had been under the influence of drugs at the time of the attack.

Attacks on lawmakers in Denmark are rare. Ms. Frederiksen said that the country had been proud to be one where prime ministers felt safe enough to cycle to work. But she expressed concerns about the state of political debate in Denmark.

“As a human being, it feels like an attack on me,” she said, in response to a question about whether the assault was an attack on democracy. But she added that she had “no doubt” that she was hit because she had been recognized as the prime minister. “In this way, it also becomes a form of attack on all of us,” she said.

“There is no place for any kind of violence in our society,” she added.

Ms. Frederiksen, 46, was the youngest person to become Danish prime minister when she took office in 2019, and her center-left coalition won a second term in 2022. The assault drew condemnation from other leaders, including the prime ministers of Finland and Sweden and Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission. It happened a month after an assassination attempt on Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia, who was shot and wounded but survived.

Ms. Frederiksen also said she was heeding a “warning” from Danish voters in the European Union elections, in which the Social Democrats won three seats but came in second place to a left-wing party, S.F.

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