Portugal police detain man after bomb scare at far-right party HQ

LISBON (Reuters) - Portuguese police on Thursday briefly detained a man who had threatened to blow up the headquarters of the far-right party Chega and sent him for a psychiatric evaluation after finding no explosive device on him, a police official said.

The incident follows last week's assassination attempt on Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico that has raised concerns about the safety of politicians amid growing polarization and animosities across Europe in the run-up to a European Parliament election on June 9.

Police official Sergio Soares told Reuters officers were responding to a call that a man had sneaked into the Chega headquarters in Lisbon with an explosive device in his backpack.

"We intercepted the man, who is 59... called in the explosives deactivation team and the dog team, who found no explosives and the individual was taken to a hospital. He was speaking incoherently," Soares said.

The anti-immigration, populist Chega quadrupled its parliamentary representation in a March 10 general election and is the third-largest force in the legislature after the centre-right Social Democrats, who lead the government, and centre-left opposition Socialists.

Chega's leader, Andre Ventura, who was travelling on the campaign trail at the time, told reporters he had been informed that the man wanted to kill him.

"It's regrettable that this escalation of violence can continue. We're going to re-evaluate the security that we have at the headquarters," Ventura said.

His party spokesperson said the incident was "the result of the climate of hate and cancel culture created by the far-left".

Portuguese police have said after the shooting of Fico there is no need to beef up security for politicians.

(Reporting by Patricia Rua, writing by Andrei Khalip; editing by Philippa Fletcher)