Trump effigy set ablaze in Mexico Easter ritual

Mexico City - An effigy of US presidential contender Donald Trump - a hated figure for many in Mexico - was set ablaze late Saturday in a contemporary twist on a Holy Week ritual.

A smiling figure of the billionaire American businessman went up in flames during the Easter eve "Burning of Judas," a tradition in which Mexicans torch effigies of the devil - and of public figures they dislike.

In a neighborhood of the Mexican capital city, this year the devil took the form of Trump, who is notorious here for comments made during his presidential campaign accusing Mexican immigrants in the United States of being criminals and rapists.

About 200 people attended the event late Saturday, in which a six-foot (two-meter) papier-mache likeness of Trump wearing a blue suit, white shirt and red tie was torched.

The figure was created by Felipe Linares, who has been making effigies for more than 50 years at a workshop founded by his father in the early 20th century.

This year he made likenesses of the devil, President Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexican goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa and Trump - all of which went up in flames.

Linares told AFP the likeness of Trump was chosen "because we don't like him. He speaks ill of Mexicans." He was referring to the real estate tycoon's remarks on the campaign trail describing Mexican migrants as criminals and rapists.

The Holy Week tradition of burning effigies is believed to symbolically dispel evil, while torching the Judas figure exacts revenge for the death of Jesus.

Since making his remarks, Trump has become a figure of scorn in Mexico.

Some have made pinatas resembling the Republican frontrunner, while one artist produced shirts decorated with his image along with a vulgarity.

An opinion poll this month found some 61 percent of Mexicans hold a negative opinion of Trump, who has vowed to force Mexico to pay for a huge wall across the US border to stop illegal migration.