The city of Sanford, Fla., released a letter yesterday that sought to stave off rising anger directed at the city. The city attempted to explain why George Zimmerman, who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager last month, had not been arrested. But on Thursday, tensions rose high enough that the Sanford police chief leading the investigation into Trayvon Martin’s death was asked to step down. Sanford city commissioners conducted a vote of “no confidence” against Police Chief Billy Lee, ABC reports.

Trayvon Martin's parents Tracy Martin, left, and Sybrina Fulton at the Million Hoodie March in New York’s Union Square on Wednesday. (John Minchillo/AP)

“They are joining the Trayvon Martin crusade by the hour now,” write The Post’s Wil Haygood, Brady Dennis and Sari Horwitz today. “It feels like an echo from another era — when there was racial injustice in the headlines, when federal troops were dispatched to comb Southern swamps to look for blacks who had vanished. ... But this is a different era, however tragically similar the outcome.” Read their full story here.

More of your morning links below:

Toulouse siege

The French school shooting suspect is dead. Police blasted into Mohammed Merah’s apartment after a 31-hour siege. Merah, a young Islamic radical, is accused of killing three off-duty soldiers, three Jewish schoolchildren and a rabbi in France. (Washington Post)

Coup in Mali

Mali’s president has been ousted in a coup, just one month before his term was due to finish. Soldiers looted the presidential palace and gunfire could be heard throughout the capital. The constitution has been suspended and the president’s whereabouts are unknown. (Associated Press)

Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo, a man emerging as leader of the rebel group, appeared on Malian TV to announce an immediate curfew and urge people to be calm. (YouTube)

Spying in Iran

A Chinese telecommunications equipment company sold Iran a powerful surveillance system that can monitor landline, mobile and Internet communications. (Reuters)

In a Nowruz greeting earlier this week, President Obama rebuked the Iranian government for setting up an “electronic curtain” that blocks access for many Iranians to the outside world. (Washington Post)