MPs from across the political spectrum have condemned the attack on far-right MP Thierry Baudet who was hit on the head with an umbrella as he arrived at a meeting at the University of Ghent.
Baudet was about to enter the building to give a talk when he was hit by a single blow. The perpetrator was arrested. According to broadcaster NOS, the suspect shouted “no to fascism, no to Putinism” in Ukrainian as he attacked the MP.
Baudet is an avowed supporter of Russia and an admirer of the Russian president.
GroenLinks/PvdA leader Frans Timmermans described the attack as “completely unacceptable”, while justice minister Dilan Yesilgöz wished Baudet well and said: “You fight words with words, never violence.”
D66 parliamentary party leader Jan Paternotte said the attack should be condemned by everyone. “Whoever tries to get their way using violence is no democrat,” he said.
Baudet said later the attack was a result of the “enormous demonisation campaign” against him. He was able to give the speech after a glass of water but has a large bump on his head, he told NPO radio.
Baudet was walking with far right Belgian politician Filip Dewinter from Vlaams Belang when the incident happened.
The speech had been organised by a conservative student association.
Belgian police have since said the man, who is in his early thirties and lives in Belgium, has been released but will be prosecuted for the offence of “deliberately hitting and wounding”.