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The leader of a far-right Dutch populist party was hit on the head with a beer bottle Monday in an attack that took place two days before the Netherlands holds a general election.
Thierry Baudet, leader of Forum for Democracy, was taken to a hospital in the northern city of Groningen after the assault at a local event, the party said in a message on X, formerly Twitter.
“It looks like everything will all be alright,” the party said. It later said Baudet, 40, was treated by a trauma surgeon after being hit on the back of the head and next to his eye with a beer bottle. It said a security guard also was injured.
Video on social media showed Baudet in a bar when his attacker lunged at him. Baudet was quickly taken away and the attacker was overpowered.
A police spokesman named Thijs de Jong confirmed the arrest of an individual on suspicion of involvement in the attack, stating that the motive is currently under investigation.
“At this stage, all we can confirm is that Mr. Baudet was struck on the head, possibly with an object,” stated De Jong. He was unable to provide further details or comment on Baudet’s current condition.
Dutch politician Thierry Baudet, leader of the far-right Forum for Democracy, speaks at a debate in The Hague, Netherlands, April 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
Baudet’s party said on X that an event that had been planned for later Monday in another city had been cancelled “in connection with the health and security” of him. It did not elaborate.
Baudet is running to keep his seat in parliament.
Forum for Democracy leapt to prominence in provincial elections in 2019, where it was the winner with more than 1 million votes. It has since been troubled by internal discontent but still holds five seats in the 150-seat lower house of the Dutch parliament.
A poll published Monday night predicted Forum for Democracy would win between three and five seats in the election. Another populist right-wing party, the Party for Freedom led by anti-Islam lawmaker Geert Wilders, ranked second in the poll and was forecast to win 22 to 28 seats.
In 2020, Baudet resigned as the party’s leader amid criticism of his handling of accusations of extreme-right views held by some members of the party’s youth wing. He was overwhelmingly returned as leader in a vote among party members.
Last month, Baudet was hit on the head with an umbrella at an event in the Belgian city of Ghent.
Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte stated that it was completely unacceptable for Thierry Baudet to face another attack. He further reiterated his stance that politicians should not be subjected to such acts of violence.
Rutte also mentioned he got in touch with Baudet to express his wishes for Baudet’s wellbeing.
Back in the day, over two decades prior, Pim Fortuyn, a populist Dutch politician, had also faced a similar fate. Days before the 2002 national election, he was murdered by an animal rights activist.
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