Mexicans celebrating an Easter ritual late on Saturday burned effigies of U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, whose anti-immigrant views have sparked outrage in the country.

In Mexico City's La Merced neighbourhood, hundreds of cheering residents yelled "death" and various insults as they watched the explosion of the grinning papier mâché mock-up of the real estate tycoon, replete with blue blazer, red tie and his trademark tuft of blond hair.

Media reported that Trump effigies burned across Mexico, from Puebla to Mexico's industrial hub Monterrey.

 

The burning is part of a widespread Mexican Holy Week tradition where neighbourhoods burn effigies to represent Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus Christ according to the Bible.

The effigies are often modeled on unpopular political figures.

USA-ELECTION/MEXICO

(Henry Romero/Reuters)

USA-ELECTION/MEXICO

(Henry Romero/Reuters)

"Since he started his campaign and began talking about immigrants, Mexico, and Mexicans, I said 'I've got to get this guy,'" said Felipe Linares, the artisan who crafted Trump and whose family has been making Judases for more than 50 years.

The Trump wall

Trump, the front-runner to win the Republican nomination for the Nov. 8 election, has drawn fire in Mexico with his campaign vow to build a wall along the southern U.S. border to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs, and to make Mexico pay for it.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has said his country will not pay for the wall and likened Trump's "strident tone" to the ascent of dictators like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

USA-ELECTION/MEXICO

Craftsman Felipe Linares puts the final touch to an effigy depicting Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump at his workshop before it burnt as the symbolic figure of the biblical character of Judas. (Tomas Bravo/Reuters)

Trump, who has also aroused concern among many in his own party with his proposals, has accused Mexico of sending rapists and drug runners across the border and vowed to increase fees on some Mexican visas and all border crossing cards to help make Mexico pay for the wall.