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By Associated Press
CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s prime minister has suggested an anti-Muslim senator should be charged after he hit a teen who cracked a raw egg over the legislator’s head.
Sen. Fraser Anning has been widely condemned for blaming Muslim immigration for racist attacks on two New Zealand mosques that claimed at least 50 lives.
The 17-year-old boy who egged Anning has become an online hero.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday took the side of the egger, telling reporters: “The full force of the law should be applied to Sen. Anning.”
Police allege the 17-year-old, who calls himself “Egg Boy” online, assaulted the senator with the egg.
Anning “retaliated and struck the teen twice” before the boy was dragged to the ground by Anning supporters, a police statement said.
“The incident is being actively investigated by Victoria Police in its entirety,” the statement said, including Anning’s actions.
Anning came under blistering criticism over tweets on Friday, including one that said, “Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?”
Anning has now been assigned a federal police security detail, a precaution usually reserved for the prime minister.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for the first time on Sunday joined the public condemnation of Anning.
Asked by a journalist what she thought of Anning’s comments, she replied simply: “They’re a disgrace.”
A GoFundMe page set up to raise money for the boy’s “legal fees” and “more eggs” had vastly exceeded its target on Sunday.
The site says most of the money will go to Christchurch victims.
Anning was widely condemned for his first speech to the Senate in August advocating reviving a white-only immigration policy and using the term “final solution” in calling for a vote on which migrants to admit into the country. Critics accused him of making a veiled reference to the Nazi extermination of Jews.
The government also announced on Saturday it had banned right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos from touring the country over his social media response to the Christchurch shootings.
Immigration Minister David Coleman said Yiannopoulos’ social media comments are “appalling and foment hatred and division.”
Lawmakers within Australia’s conservative government had been quarreling in recent weeks over whether Yiannopoulos should be allowed to tour Australia this year.