MADRID (AP) — A young man punched Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy hard in the head Wednesday evening after managing to get next to him at a campaign appearance in the northern city where Rajoy grew up.
The unidentified attacker was standing next to Rajoy on a street in the city of Pontevedra in the Galicia region while he talked to a crowd, then pulled his arm back and delivered a punishing left hook to Rajoy’s left check.
Video on Spanish TV showed Rajoy falling toward the ground from the impact but being propped up by others around him.
Spanish media reported that Rajoy’s attacker was 17. Video showed him being detained by security guards and then taken in handcuffs from a building, raising his hands and thumbs into the air in an apparent victory sign.
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Rajoy’s face was bruised in photos of him after the attack but he did not appear to be seriously injured, though Spanish media said his glasses were knocked to the ground and crushed.
Rajoy later appeared, smiling but without his glasses, at a campaign appearance in the nearby city of A Coruna.
Development Minister Ana Pastor confirmed the assault in a tweet, telling Rajoy she had no words “to express my indignation for the aggression you suffered on the streets of Pontevedra.”
Polls say the Popular Party will win in Sunday’s general election but won’t regain the majority it has in parliament following years of unpopular austerity cuts hitting cherished national health care and public education plus tax hikes Rajoy promised he would not impose before his party’s landslide 2011 victory.
Leaders of opposition parties trying to wrest power from Rajoy in the election condemned the assault.