Nothing amateurish about Egypt's military takeover

Army soldiers keep guard in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

In Egypt a new interim leader has been appointed by military decree.

The swearing-in took place in a grandiose Cairo building heavily guarded by armoured vehicles, soldiers and riot police.

Strutting around were senior army officers in heavily-adorned uniforms and looking out through oversized aviator sunglasses.

If it all seemed a bit tinpot there was nothing amateurish about the military takeover here.

It was the night of the long reach of the Egyptian military.

Ex-president Morsi and dozens of his cohorts were swiftly placed under house arrest. Pro-Morsi TV channels were shut down and their staff taken away. Roadblocks were put in place to contain pro-Morsi demonstrators.

Many of them are reeling and in a state of shock.

Military jets fly over Tahrir Square in Cairo. Credit: Reuters

The military has tried to take the edge of things by promoting a celebratory mood. An airforce display team has flown over Tahrir Square in a V-for victory formation.

In London and Washington there are big reservations about what has happened.

The jackboot has kicked out a freely-elected president.

He may have been a useless leader who was taking Egypt downhill fast but he did have legitimacy.

Interim president Adli Mansour (centre) pictured during his swearing-in ceremony. Credit: APTN