One day after the mass shooting that left 50 people dead at two mosques in New Zealand, a lawmaker in Australia who blamed the attack on Muslim immigration was struck on the head with an egg by a teenager.
Video footage shows the Australian senator from Queensland, Fraser Anning, speaking to reporters at a meeting of his Conservative National Party in Melbourne, while a young man stands nearby listening. The teenager then raises his phone and uses his other hand to slam the egg on the back on Anning’s head.
Anning immediately turns and hits the teen in the face, and then hits him again before the two were separated. The 17-year-old was tackled to the ground and then arrested by police, according to The New York Times.
The Victoria Police did not identify the young man but said they released him after taking his details. They said they are investigating the incident “in its entirety” including the actions of Anning and others at the scene.
The senator has been heavily criticized for the inflammatory remarks he made after the attack in Christchurch. In his statement, shared widely on Twitter, Anning said he was utterly opposed to any form of violence and condemned the actions of the gunman. He added, “The real cause of bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place.”
Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, tweeted that Anning’s remarks on immigration were “disgusting.”
“Those views have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian Parliament,” Morrison said.
This isn’t the first time Anning’s comments have been received with condemnation and outrage.
In an August 2018 speech before the Australian parliament, Anning said “the final solution to the immigration problem, of course, is a popular vote,” invoking a term used by leaders of Nazi Germany to refer to the Holocaust. In the same speech, Anning called for drastic cuts to Muslim immigration and a return to racially based immigration policies.
A change.org petition to remove Anning from Australian parliament has gotten over 400,000 signatures.
The 17-year-old’s motives for egging the senator are not immediately clear, but he was quickly dubbed #EggBoy on social media and is getting international praise for what many are seeing as him standing up against Islamophobia and racism.
An Instagram account thought to belong to the teen has been flooded with comments thanking him, including posts like “respect from Indonesia” and “well done you are a HERO.”
A GoFundMe page set up on behalf of the teenager has raised more than $13,000, far exceeding the original $2,000 goal. The page says funds will go toward legal fees and “more eggs.”