Protestors damage Danish PM’s car during hearing

Police escorted Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s car away from the court in Frederiksberg on Thursday after demonstrators damaged a rear light and encircled the vehicle.

Danish police and protestors at Frederiksberg court on Thursday.
Danish police and protestors at Frederiksberg court on Thursday. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Frederiksen, who was at the court to meet a commission into her government’s decision last year to cull fur farm mink, was not in the car at the time of the incident.

READ ALSO: Denmark’s prime minister faces inquiry over decision to cull minks

Demonstrators surrounded the car when it began to move, resulting in police deciding to shield it.

Copenhagen Police told news wire Ritzau that “in connection with the car being moved, it was encircled by demonstrators”.

“In connection with this, a rear light was smashed on the car. It has now been driven away from the location. We are looking further into what happened,” police added.

Two people were arrested as a result of disturbances related to the demonstrations, Copenhagen Police confirmed to Ritzau later on Thursday.

One of the individuals was arrested for breaching laws against violent or threatening behaviour towards service personnel such as police officers, and the other for making offensive remarks.

Frederiksen met a sizeable gathering of demonstrators when she arrived at the court building in Frederiksberg shortly before 9am on Thursday.

One sign held by protestors called for her to be put in prison while also referring to text messages relating to the mink decision that were automatically deleted from the prime minister’s telephone.

Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

Another sign read “Ignorance does not relieve you of responsibility”, referring to the fact the government has argued it did not know the order to cull mink had no legal basis at the time it was issued.


Frederiksen defended the decision to cull the minks on Thursday as she arrived at the court building.

“I think, generally speaking, that we unfortunately had to make a decision one year ago to cull all mink. It was the right decision. I will now go in and answer the questions that are asked,” she said.

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What did Danish PM Frederiksen say in New Year speech?

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen on Sunday gave the traditional New Year’s Day speech, sent by the government leader from official residence Marienborg on January 1st.

What did Danish PM Frederiksen say in New Year speech?

In the speech, Frederiksen said that a plan to scrap a public holiday was still a policy of the new government, despite its apparent unpopularity.

The government has stated that it wants to raise 4.5 billion kroner for additional spending on defence. To this end, it wants an extra working day to be added to the year, and therefore suggests that a public holiday be abolished.

In the New Year speech, Frederiksen did not mention a specific public holiday, but the springtime Great Prayer Day is thought to be the most likely day off to be cut.

“I can sense that the proposal is not supported by everyone,” Frederiksen said in the speech.

“But hand on heart. We can’t overcome war in Europe, the climate crisis and domestic challenges if we are not – every one of us – prepared to do more,” she said.

“We are entering a year of economic uncertainty. Also, unfortunately, with a risk of increasing unemployment,” she said near the beginning of the speech.

READ ALSO: Unemployment down in Denmark but analysts predict more without work

She made a number of references to defence – the area the government says it will use a scrapped public holiday to invest in.

“Europe must be stronger on its own. And Denmark must contribute more to NATO. We must push forward investments in our defence and security. That way, we will be up to the two percent [of GDP, contribution to NATO, ed.] that is needed and which we have promised our allies,” she said.

“The will demand something from all of us. That’s why the government has proposed we abolish a public holiday,” she said.

READ ALSO: How can Denmark earn money by abolishing a public holiday?

The New Year speech was Frederiksen’s fourth as prime minister. The traditional speeches are usually recorded at the official residence of the head of government, Marienborg, just before the end of December and broadcast on January 1st.

Topics tackled by prime ministers during the annual speeches are often domestically focused and can outline core issues on which the government plans to focus in the coming year.

The Covid-19 pandemic was the dominant topic in 2021. Last year, Frederiksen began the speech by stating that she would “not primarily talk about coronavirus”, but did thank members of the public who had been vaccinated and received boosters, along with healthcare sector and test centre staff.

In her first speech as PM in 2020, Frederiksen talked about society’s responsibilities towards underprivileged children, choosing to sideline the dominant political topic of the preceding year, climate change.

She mentioned national security and the war in Ukraine as she continued the focus on defence and shared contributions in 2023.

“Denmark continues our steadfast and loyal support for Ukraine. At the same time, we must also be prepared to face significantly sharpened threats at home,” she said.

“In Europe we tend to imagine that trade and growth will almost automatically lead to peaceful coexistence. We disarmed while others built up,” she said.

“And in a number of areas, we have made ourselves dependent on others. We are now seeing that we were too naïve. That we are on the threshold of a new era. Which will be hard,” she said.

READ ALSO: ‘There’s not enough gas in the world’: Can Europe keep the heating on this winter?

The government, formed in December, has announced a number of policies which could impact foreigners in 2023. These include potential changes to family reunification and work permit rules.

These elements of the new government platform were not directly mentioned by Frederiksen in the January 1st speech.

She stated that the new government’s “political solutions” would reflect its make-up as a coalition of both left and right-leaning parties and mentioned social welfare and climate as areas on which the government would focus.

Denmark’s Queen Margrethe also gives a traditional speech at the turn of the year. The monarch’s speech is broadcast live at 6pm on New Year’s Eve and watching it is a popular element of New Year celebrations.

In her speech on Saturday, the Queen addressed a rift that has emerged in the royal family following her decision to strip four of her grandchildren of their titles, along with more traditional topics relating to ethical and cultural issues as well as the need for solidarity in society.