Australian Senator Fraser Anning punched a protester in the face after he was egged in the head during a live news conference, a confrontation that came hours after the lawmaker blamed Muslims as the “real cause of bloodshed” following a white supremacist attack on two New Zealand mosques.
Anning was restrained by security officials during the confrontation after punching the protester twice in the face, according to the outlet.
The protester, who later identified himself online as 17-year-old Will Connolly, was violently wrestled to the ground and put in a chokehold by Anning’s supporters.
— Paul Barry (@TheRealPBarry) March 16, 2019
Anning, a far-right independent senator elected in 2017, sparked international backlash on Friday for his controversial remarks about Islam following the massacre that left at least 49 people dead and dozens injured.
The primary suspect, a 28-year-old Australian man, has been charged with one count of murder in connection with the attack.
Shortly after the attack, Anning wrote in a statement that while he condemned the violence, the attacks highlighted “the growing fear within our community, both in Australia and New Zealand, of the increasing Muslim presence.”
“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,” Anning continued.
Anning said Muslims “may have been the victims today; usually they are the perpetrators.”
His derogatory comments were quickly condemned by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
“Those views have no place in Australia, let alone the Australian Parliament,” Morrison wrote on Twitter.
Anning was widely condemned last year for calling for the “final solution” to end what he called an immigration problem in his country, invoking a Nazi euphemism for genocide.
The teen, who was quickly dubbed “Egg Boy” online, was even offered a lifetime of free tickets to a popular music festival.
Someone put us in touch with #eggboy because we want to give him free tickets for life 🙏
— Rolling Loud (@RollingLoud) March 16, 2019
Though he was taken in by local police, Australian journalists report that Connolly was released without charges.
And he took to Twitter to set the record straight about the “egg boy” nickname:
omg you guys… I’m not the egg boy…. I am the egg MAN.
— Will Connolly (@wpconnolly) March 16, 2019