An Arizona monument to Confederate civil war president Jefferson Davis has been tarred and feathered.

The Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway Monument is a stone plaque in Gold Canyon located just off the US Route 60. The state's department of public safety is investigating the matter.

The move comes as a number of Confederate statues in Durham County in North Carolina, Leesburg in Virginia and right across the south have been vandalised as the country's national debate about race relations once again heats up.

US President Donald Trump yesterday (17 August) denounced the removal of "beautiful" Confederate statues that will be "greatly missed."

Trump tweeted: "Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You can't change history, but you can learn from it."

The President was backed by Maine's Governor Paul LePage, a Republican, who said taking down Confederate statues is "just like" removing a monument to the victims of the 9/11 attacks.

These comments follow unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia at the weekend when a car ploughed into a group of anti-racism protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

Removal of statues

Violence broke out between white supremacists and anti-racism groups at a right-wing march organised to protest against the proposed removal of a statue of General Robert E Lee, who commanded the pro-slavery Confederate forces during the American Civil War.

Arizona Democrat Reginald Bolding opposes Republican Governor Doug Ducey's refusal to remove Confederate statues in the state, but criticised the vandalism of the statue.

Bolding said: "Vandalising these monuments is not productive. This will not lead to the civil discourse and debate that we have been calling for

"It is a short-term action that does not help the long-term goal of having these offensive monuments removed from state property."

Arizona wasn't a state during the Civil War, but the southern half of the region known as Arizona Territory was claimed by Confederate states. The federal government never acknowledged the area seceded.

The Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway Monument was later erected in the 1940s by the Daughters of the Confederacy, the Phoenix New Times reported.