Dutch Far-Right Leader Hit on Head With Beer Bottle

Thierry Baudet attacked in bar days before election
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 20, 2023 1:49 PM CST
Dutch Far-Right Leader Assaulted With Beer Bottle
Thierry Baudet, leader of right-wing populist party Forum for Democracy, speaks during a debate in parliament in The Hague, Netherlands, on April 1, 2021.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

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. "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, the AP reports. 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 overpowered. Police spokesman Thijs de Jong said a person was arrested on suspicion of involvement in the attack. He said the motive was under investigation. "What we can say at the moment is that Mr. Baudet was hit on the head, possibly with an object," De Jong said. He said he could not give further details or comment on Baudet's condition. Last month, Baudet was hit on the head with an umbrella at an event in Belgium. Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a message on X that it was "totally unacceptable that Thierry Baudet has been attacked again. I said it before and I repeat it now firmly: Don't touch politicians."

Baudet is running to keep his seat in 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. In 2022, another populist Dutch politician, Pim Fortuyn, was fatally shot by an animal rights activist days before a national election. (More Netherlands stories.)

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