Danish PM attacker sentenced to 12 days in custody

A 39-year old man who assaulted Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in Copenhagen causing her to suffer a neck injury has been sentenced to 12 days in custody, Danish police said.

The assault took place in a square in the city centre on Friday when a man walked up to the prime minister and hit her.

Frederiksen's office said the incident had left the politician "shocked" and suffering a minor whiplash injury.

All the prime minister's official events on Saturday have been cancelled, her office added.

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.

Frederiksen, was able to walk away and had no outward signs of harm after the assault, Soren Kjergaard, a local coffee-shop worker, told Reuters after seeing her being escorted away by security.

Copenhagen police said it did not think that the man, who has denied wrongdoing, was politically motivated in his act.

"In light of the fact that the accused has no connection to Denmark, there is a risk of escape," the judge at the Copenhagen City court said as one reason for the custodial sentence, according to broadcaster DR.

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.

"My good friend and Danish colleague Mette Frederiksen was attacked in the street last night in Copenhagen. This is completely unacceptable and is an attack on our open, democratic societies," Norway Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told news agency NTB.

Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president wrote on X on Friday: "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."