Dutch far-right leader Thierry Baudet was attacked Thursday night by a man wielding an umbrella.
Baudet, leader of the Forum for Democracy party (FVD), was in the Belgian city of Ghent to give a lecture at an event organized by a conservative university association.
In a video posted on social media by Belgian right-wing politician Filip Dewinter, a man lashed out at Baudet, striking him hard with a brolly.
Dewinter said the incident was a “disgrace for our security services.”
According to Belgian outlet VRT, the attacker shouted an anti-fascist message and was taken away by police.
Dutch politicians of all stripes condemned the attack.
“Completely unacceptable what happened to Thierry Baudet tonight,” Frans Timmermans, the ex-EU Green Deal chief who is running on a Socialist-Green ticket in November’s Dutch election, wrote on X. “Violence should never be tolerated. Free speech must be protected and the perpetrator prosecuted. Hope Baudet is doing well.”
Mark Rutte, the outgoing prime minister of the Netherlands, said on social media: “Stay away from politicians. What happened to Thierry Baudet tonight in Ghent is completely unacceptable. You fight the ideas of politicians that you disagree with with words and never, ever, with violence.”
Baudet’s lecture at the university went ahead but he told Dutch radio he had “a significant bump” on his head.
Baudet is a controversial figure. In 2021, he was found guilty of “creating a breeding ground for antisemitism” after several social media posts in which he compared the government’s coronavirus measures to the Holocaust. He has also blamed Russia’s war on Ukraine on the West’s “tunnel vision.”
Baudet’s FVD is polling at 3 percent ahead of the election, according to POLITICO’s Poll of Polls.