At least one inmate died in a riot sparked by a protest over changes to uniforms over the weekend at a youth correctional institute in southern Guatemala, emergency services officials said.

The unidentified minor died Sunday during a fight at the Las Gaviotas correctional institute, fire department spokesman Jose Rodriguez told reporters.

"A minor died, apparently killed with knives, and several others were wounded," Rodriguez said.

Soldiers and National Civilian Police, or PNC, officers entered the prison several hours after the fight and took control of the facility.

The Las Gaviotas correctional institute holds more than 200 young men who got into trouble with the law.

The inmates rioted over the new uniforms, which they criticized for not being fashionable, prison officials said.

The majority of the inmates at Las Gaviotas belong to the Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18 gangs.

Street gangs are blamed for much of the violence plaguing this Central American nation.

Mara Salvatrucha, one of several gangs operating in Guatemala, is a particularly violent criminal organization that evolved on the streets of Los Angeles during the 1980s.

Most of the gang's members were young Salvadorans whose parents fled their nation's civil war for the United States.

Because many of the gang members were born in El Salvador, they were subject to deportation when rounded up during crackdowns in California in the 1990s.

Sent back "home" to a land they barely knew, they formed gangs in San Salvador that spread throughout the small nation and to neighboring countries in Central America, where membership is now counted in the tens, or even hundreds of thousands, and gang members are engaged in murder, drug dealing, kidnapping and people smuggling. EFE