Egyptian General: 'I Can Say This Is Over'

ABC's Terry Moran asks General Hassan al-Roueini if President Mubarak is out.

CAIRO, Egypt Feb. 10, 2011— -- It was an amazing, breathtaking, historic moment today in Tahrir Square, as we watched Egypt's General Hassan al-Roueini, the Egyptian military commander for the Cairo area, make his way through the crowd of protesters.

An enormous roar went up from the crowd, which was going insane with excitement. I had never heard a human sound quite like it.

We ran toward the noise and found General al-Roueini in the middle of a crush of people. He took the stage, grabbed the microphone and bellowed, "All your demands will be met tonight. Allahu Akhbar!"

He told the crowd, "Tonight all your demands will be met."

The crowd around General al-Roueini erupted into thunderous cheers. They began singing the national anthem and chanting, "Allahu Akhbar, God is the greatest."

General al-Roueini left the stage and was practically carried out of the square, surrounded by a deliriously happy crush of people waving Egyptian flags. I pushed my way to the front of the crowds, caught al-Roueini's eye and he winked at me. I'll never forget that wink.

I broke into his inner circle and I asked him, "Does this mean it's over?"

He said, "Tonight, it is ending." I asked him, "Will Mubarak leave Egypt?"

He replied, "I can't say, but I can say this is over."

We had been standing in one of the makeshift hospitals near the square when the rumors of President Mubarak's resignation first started to circulate. There also had been rumors all day that the army was going to start cracking down. People were very concerned. Some even seemed ready to fight. But once the general finished speaking, the injured and the healthy both literally jumped for joy, hugging and kissing each other.

When Vice President Omar Suleiman sat down with ABC News' Christiane Amanpour last week, he told her that Egypt wasn't ready for democracy. But we have heard it repeated over and over by protesters, who considered that a personal insult.

Egypt: Jubilation in Tahrir Square

"Look around," they tell us. "We already have democracy here."

Of course, democracy is much more than camping out in a square. But people are tired of being treated like children or idiots.

What they heard was Vice President Suleiman speaking an old and bankrupt language to them -- even if what he said makes some practical sense.