The Australian senator who came under fire after he blamed Muslim immigration for Friday’s New Zealand mosque shootings was captured on video hitting a teenager who was seen breaking an egg on his head.
Fraser Anning, a senator from Queensland, was criticized over tweets on Friday, including one that said, “Does anyone still dispute the link between Muslim immigration and violence?”
“I am utterly opposed to any form of violence within our community, and I totally condemn the actions of the gunman,” he wrote in a statement. “However, whilst this kind of violent vigilantism can never be justified, what it highlights is the growing fear within our community, both in Australia and New Zealand, of the increasing Muslim presence.”
“The real cause of the bloodshed on New Zealand streets today is the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place,” the statement continued.
On Friday, at least 49 people were killed following a shooting spree at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
On Saturday, television cameras captured the moment when a 17-year-old boy, holding a phone, smashing an egg onto Anning’s head while he held a news conference in Melbourne. The senator immediately turned around and was seen striking the teenager in the face twice. The two briefly scuffled before several other men intervened. The men tackled the teen to the ground and held him in a chokehold until authorities arrived.
Police said the boy was arrested but released without charge pending a further investigation. No motive was offered for the egging.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported a fundraising page has been created to cover the boy’s legal fees and help him purchase “more eggs.”
Australia’s government and opposition party agreed to pass a censure motion against Anning over his stance on the shootings when Parliament resumes in April. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison denounced Anning’s comments.
“In his conflation of this horrendous terrorist attack with issues of immigration, in his attack on Islamic faith specifically — these comments are appalling and they’re ugly and they have no place in Australia, in the Australian Parliament,” Morrison said. “He should be, frankly, ashamed of himself.”
Anning, 69, has been criticized in the past for controversial statements, including when he made a speech in Australia’s Parliament calling for a “final solution” to immigration.
Fox News’ Liam Quinn and the Associated Press contributed to this report.