Man arrested after attacking Denmark Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in Copenhagen

Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in June 2024.
Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in June 2024. Photo credit: Reuters.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was attacked by a man, who has since been arrested, in the capital city of Copenhagen on Friday, her office said in a statement to CNN.

"Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was hit by a man Friday evening on Kultorvet [public square] in Copenhagen. The man was subsequently arrested," the prime minister's office said.

It added that Frederiksen "is shocked by the incident" and there was no further comment. It is unclear if the prime minister was hurt in the assault.

Danish Minister of Environment Magnus Heunicke called for national unity after the attack, saying everyone has a responsibility to look after each other regardless of "political disagreements, election campaigns."

"Something like this must not happen in our beautiful, safe and free country," he said on X. "This is ugly and unacceptable. Let's show that Denmark is much better."

European politicians expressed shock in the aftermath of the attack.

"Deeply shocked by the outrageous attack on my colleague and friend, Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen," Latvian Prime Minister Evika Siliņa said in a post on X.

"All our thoughts are with you and your loved ones. Wishing you a speedy recovery," she added.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen condemned the attack, calling it a "despicable act, which goes against everything we believe in and fight for in Europe." She went on to wish the prime minister strength and courage, saying she has plenty of both.

Denmark is due to vote in the European Union elections on Sunday.

Frederiksen, the leader of Denmark's center-left Socialist Democratic party, has served as prime minister since 2019.

Her attack comes weeks after Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico was shot and wounded in what was the first major assassination attempt on a European political leader for more than 20 years. Political analysts and lawmakers said at the time that exposed an increasingly febrile and polarized political climate both in Slovakia and across Europe.