Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe celebrates his 90th birthday

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Media captionPresident Mugabe: "The British, we don't hate you, we only love our country"

Thousands of Zimbabweans have attended an official 90th birthday celebration for President Robert Mugabe.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Some supporters chanted, others showed their appreciation in more unusual ways

The veteran leader, who has been in power since 1980, released 90 balloons into the air at a stadium east of the capital Harare.

He turned 90 on Friday but was in Singapore for eye surgery at the time.

Many schoolchildren were among the crowd, waving flags and chanting Mr Mugabe's clan name.

Huge cakes were on display in the centre of the stadium in Marondera, about 80km (50 miles) from Harare, while the crowd wore red scarves, as is traditional on the president's birthday.

In an hour-long speech he said Zimbabweans did not hate former colonial masters the British, but loved their own country more.

He also condemned homosexuals for performing what he called "unnatural acts".

The cost of the celebration - estimated at about $1m - has prompted criticism in a country suffering from severe economic problems.

Image copyright AP
Image caption "I feel as youthful and energetic as a boy of nine," Mugabe said, before cutting his cake
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption He moved around the venue in the back of a truck, accompanied his wife Grace

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