Uganda holds 'thanksgiving' event for anti-gay law

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has launched fresh condemnation of gays, saying they deserve punishment because homosexuality "is criminal and it is so cruel."

Museveni, who last month signed a bill strengthening criminal penalties against homosexuals, said Monday that he is "now mobilizing to fight" Western gays he accuses of promoting homosexuality in Africa.

Museveni spoke at a "thanksgiving service" organized by a coalition of Ugandan religious leaders and government officials who said the president deserves credit for defying Western pressure.

Thousands of Ugandans attended the raucous event in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, many of them schoolchildren who sang and danced to anti-gay tunes that also railed against the West.

Some European countries and the U.S. have cut, delayed or reviewed aid to Uganda over the law.