The Kremlin denied Tuesday that political protests in Moscow in recent weeks have created a political crisis in Russia in its first comments on the rallies.

The demonstrations, over elections for the Moscow city legislature, have turned into the biggest sustained protest movement in Russia since 2011-2013, when protesters took to the streets against perceived electoral fraud.

“We do not agree with those many people who call what is happening a political crisis,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“Protests happen in many countries of the world. They are provoked by specific issues,” he said.

Police have detained more than 2,000 people at demonstrations in Moscow. Some video footage of tough police action at the rallies has stirred anger among Russians who believe the authorities have used excessive force.

Peskov said tough police action at the rallies had been justified, but that individual cases of police excess were being looked into.