'I am not quite myself,' Danish PM in first TV interview since assault that gave her whiplash

In her first television interview since she was assaulted last week, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen says "I am not quite myself," but will continue to work from her office
FILE - Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen attends a ceremony at the Danish monument outside of Sainte Marie du Mont, Normandy, Thursday, June 6, 2024. Frederiksen has been assaulted by a man on a square in the capital of Copenhagen, according to a report on Friday, June 7, 2024 by the state news agency Ritzau. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez, File)

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FILE - Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen attends a ceremony at the Danish monument outside of Sainte Marie du Mont, Normandy, Thursday, June 6, 2024. Frederiksen has been assaulted by a man on a square in the capital of Copenhagen, according to a report on Friday, June 7, 2024 by the state news agency Ritzau. (AP Photo/Jeremias Gonzalez, File)

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — In her first television interview since she was assaulted last week, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Tuesday "I am not quite myself,” but will continue to work mostly from her office.

Frederiksen, who suffered a minor whiplash after a man had assaulted her Friday in central Copenhagen, said in her first reaction the following day that she was ok.

Frederiksen gave no details of the assault Tuesday when she spoke in a television interview, but said "it was very intimidating when someone crosses the last physical limit you have. There is some shock and surprise in that.”

She said it was “probably also an accumulation of many other things. Threats over a long period of time on social media have gotten worse, especially after the war in the Middle East. Shouting in public space. Maybe that was the final straw.”

“As a human being, it feels like an attack on me,” Frederiksen said in the 10-minute-long interview. “But I have no doubt that it was the prime minister that was hit. In this way, it also becomes a kind of attack on all of us.”

“I would rather have a Denmark where the prime minister can bicycle to work without being worried,” she said. “I am Mette at my core, but I am the country’s prime minister. Thus, an institution that you must not attack like the police.”

A 39-year-old Polish man living in Denmark was arrested and held in pre-trial custody until June 20 on preliminary charges of violence against a person in public service. In Denmark, preliminary charges are one step short of formal ones but allow authorities to keep criminal suspects in custody during an investigation.

The motive for the assault was unclear. In court, the Pole who was not identified, reportedly praised Frederiksen as “a really good prime minister,” and investigators suspect he was under the influence of drugs and intoxicated at the time of the incident that happened just before 6 p.m. local time Friday.

Media reports said the man walked toward Frederiksen and pushed her hard while she was passing one of Copenhagen’s main squares. He hit her upper right arm with a clenched fist.

Frederiksen has not appeared in public since the attack and has not participated in public party events as the results of Sunday's European Parliament elections started coming in. Her party, the Social Democrats, faced a loss in the vote.

Frederiksen, 46, has been Denmark's prime minister since 2019.

Danish Premier Mette Frederiksen and her husband Bo Tengberg arrive at the official international ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day, at Omaha Beach in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, Thursday, June 6, 2024. (Jordan Pettitt, Pool Photo via AP)

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Danish Premier Mette Frederiksen arrives at the international ceremony at Omaha Beach, Thursday, June 6, 2024 in Normandy. Normandy is hosting various events to officially commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings that took place on June 6, 1944. (AP Photo/Viginia Mayo, Pool)

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D-Day veteran Warren Goss, 99, right, recounts his World War II experiences to Frederik X, King of Denmark, and Danish Premier Mette Frederiksen, at the museum overlooking Utah Beach, Normandy, France, Thursday, June 6, 2024 — exactly 80 years after he landed on Utah's sands in the first waves of the fateful Allied invasion. Serving with the U.S. 4th Infantry Division 531st Special Brigade, the Pittsburgh, PA., native said soldiers in front of him were shot, so he jumped over the side of his landing craft with his rifle, ammunition and a bag of food into chest-high water and fought his way up the beach. (AP Photo/John Leicester)

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Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, background centre, delivers a Constitution Day speech during the Parliament's celebration of the Constitution at Landsting Hall, Christiansborg, Copenhagen, Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

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