Only days after violent clashes and attacks in nearby Charlottesville which were sparked by the planned removal of statues of Confederate icons, Washington, DC's Lincoln memorial was vandalised.

US Parks Police, part of the National Parks Service, said that they were investigating graffiti found on the memorial on Tuesday 15 August. The words in red spray paint appear to say 'f**k law'.

Spray paint was also found on the Smithsonian Institute sign but the silver letter was indecipherable.

The Park Service said that a "mild, gel-type architectural paint stripper that is safe for use on historic stone" would be used to remove the graffiti from the monument.

The memorial, which stands at the western edge of the national mall, was built to commemorate Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States and the man who led the union forces against the confederate states in the American civil war.

The timing of the vandalism appears particularly poignant as the US deals with a weekend of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia where white supremacists gathered to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. One person was killed and 19 injured when a suspected white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.

James Fields, 20, was arrested and charged after the incident and he has been denied bail.

The Lincoln Memorial is not just known for its commemoration of Lincoln himself but was the point from where one of the most famous speeches in America's tumultuous racial history took place. In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. made his 'I Have a Dream' speech on the memorials steps to end a massive march on the capital.

Graffiti on the Lincoln Memorial
The graffiti on the Lincoln Memorial National Park Service via Storyful