Mexican revellers have shown the depths of their antipathy towards US presidential hopeful Donald Trump by burning effigies of him during Easter celebrations.

One of the Republican frontrunner's signature policies, he says, will be to build a huge and impractical wall across the whole 2,000-mile length of the US-Mexico border. He has repeatedly said he will somehow force the Mexican government to pay for the wall, which has made him incredibly unpopular in the central American country.

According to Reuters, hundreds of cheering residents of Mexico City's poor La Merced neighborhood took to the streets, yelling "death" and other insults as they watched a "grinning papier-mâché mock-up of the real estate tycoon, replete with blue blazer, red tie and his trademark tuft of blond hair" go up in flames.

Mexican media reported that hundreds of such effigies were burned up and down the country, as part of Mexico's Holy Week tradition. The effigies traditionally represent Judas Iscariot, the disciple of Jesus who betrayed his boss – but in the modern day, they're usually modelled on unpopular politicians.

Trump effigy
A papier mache model of Donald Trump is burned in effigy in Mexico CityReuters

Leonardo Linares, whose family has made Judas models for generations, told the Guardian that Trump's constant anti-Mexican rhetoric made him "an ideal candidate" to be burned in effigy.

"With all of the stupid things he has said about Mexicans, I thought people would like to see him burning as Judas," said Linares.

"I think he's just saying these things to become famous. Who knows if he actually believes it."

Trump's rhetoric has shocked people on either side of the border. He's accused Mexican immigrants of being pimps, rapists and drug-runners, and has promised to increase visa fees and reinforce all border crossings to help pay for a wall, which critics claim will be largely ineffective.

For his part, the Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto has insisted that his country will not pay a cent for the wall, and has compared Trump's sudden rise to dictators like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini.