Three transit workers were murdered in the Guatemalan capital on Wednesday in attacks blamed on extortion gangs.

The first incident took place in the south-side slum of Villa Nueva, where suspected gang members shot bus drivers Julio Rivera Lucero and Eder Ramirez, both 27.

Rivera, who recently organized a protest to demand authorities do more to protect transit workers from extortionists who demand protection payments from transit operators, was declared dead at the scene, while Ramirez died in a hospital emergency room, a spokesman for fire rescue told reporters.

Juan Jose Godinez, an employee of an intercity bus company serving northern Guatemala, was gunned down a few hours later while entering the firm's offices in downtown Guatemala City.

Police described the shooters as two men on a motorcycle.

The head of the police anti-extortion task force, Elias Pumay, said Wednesday that his unit has arrested 158 suspects so far this year. EFE