Are political protests criminalized today? The answer to that questions depends on the country you live in. In general, countries defined as "free" allow protests. Those countries considered "not free" do not allow political protests. Freedom to protest is a fundamental human right, and protests are often effective, too.
Recently, there have been large protests in Puerto Rico and Hong Kong, China. Those territories belong to the United States and China, respectively. The US is considered "free" while China is "not free," according to Freedom House. But those territories' relationship to their mother countries is somewhat ambiguous, so the right to protest is not well-defined. In Beijing, China, hundreds of protesters were killed in Tiananmen Square thirty years ago.
In the United States, there is a long history of political protest, and it is protected in the Bill of Rights. The Freedom Rides of 1961 protested against segregation in transportation in the American South; the US Attorney General, Robert Kennedy, took notice and took steps to protect the protesters and end segregation in transportation. In 2006, there were protests in many American cities against a plan to deport millions of undocumented immigrants; the House of Representatives listened and dropped the bill.
Recently, a number of US states have criminalized protests against pipelines. These efforts to suppress protests have been supported by the Trump administration.