Beirut: Syrian troops fired live ammunition and tear gas on tens of thousands of protesters calling for the regime's ouster in several cities around the country on Friday, killing at least one demonstrator, activists said.

The protests, which have become a weekly ritual following Friday prayers, came hours after a bomb blast struck a major oil pipeline in western Syria, causing oil to spill into a nearby lake. State  television said the explosion was a "terrorist" attack by a group of "saboteurs."

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said troops on Friday opened fire in the Mediterranean town of Latakia, killing at least one protester there.

The Local Coordination Committees, which also tracks anti-government protests, confirmed the death, and said another person was killed in a shooting by security forces in the southern city of Daraa.

Troops beat up protesters in the northwestern coastal town of Banias and fired tear gas in several other locations.

There were also marches in the countryside around Damascus despite an intense crackdown there in the past few days.

Opposition groups have dubbed Friday's protests "Your silence is killing us," in an attempt to mobilize sections of the population that have not yet joined the protests and Arab leaders who remain silent about the crackdown in Syria.

(Agencies)