Algeria's foreign minister has dismissed the protest marches in his country as actions by a small minority — and not the start of popular uprisings like those in Tunisia or in Egypt that overthrew long-standing Arab rulers.

Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci told Europe 1 radio that Saturday's protest march in the capital of Algiers was the work of a minority and that one set for this weekend likely "won't do any better."

Medelci said in the radio interview Monday that "Algeria is not Tunisia. Algeria is not Egypt."

While the minister brushed off the protests, Medelci said the country's state of emergency would be lifted in the next few days.

The state of emergency was imposed in 1992 after the army canceled elections fearing a win by Muslim fundamentalists.