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202                    THE EGYPTIAN PROBLEM                CHAP.
British Advisers and their British subordinates had carried on as best they could with the help of the few Egyptians who had the courage to stick to their posts and to run the gauntlet of the strike pickets, largely composed of Egyptian women, who held the gates of the Ministries and not only cursed every blackleg as a " traitor " to his country, but often hung on forcibly to his coat-tails. Intimidation played as large a part in the strike of officials as in all the other strikes which were going on at the same time, and it was useless to look for any abatement of the universal strike fever so long as such an evil example continued to be set to the whole community by a large body of public servants, many of whom occupied positions of exceptional responsibility and influence in the State. Nor could any new Cabinet, even if it had been possible to form one, be expected to cope with the situation which the Rushdi Cabinet had confessed itself powerless to master.
So on the day after Rushdi had resigned, General Allenby asserted his authority, and asserted it not merely as High Commissioner, but as Commander-in-Chief in Egypt, armed with all the powers of martial law. He issued the following Proclamation :—
Whereas, by the Proclamation of November 2, 1914, it was declared that Martial Law was instituted in Egypt in order to supplement and not to supersede the Civil Administration, and all civil officials in the service of the Egyptian Government were required to continue the punctual discharge of their respective duties ;
And whereas a number of officials and employes have recently deserted their posts, and it has been made clear that they have taken this action with the object of dictating a course of policy to the Government of His Highness the Sultan and of repudiating tlie Protectorate which His Majesty's Government has established over Egypt;
And whereas such officials and employes have for the most part refused to return to their work when called upon to do so by the President of the Council of Ministers ;
And whereas any official or employe* wilfully absenting himself from his work in the above circumstances" is committing an offence under the Proclamation above cited and any personrstatement.    The Special