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  • Two young men try to flee from a juvenile detention center in Guatemala City after a riot broke out.

    Two young men try to flee from a juvenile detention center in Guatemala City after a riot broke out. | Photo: EFE

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The tragic event comes just weeks after a fire in a shelter home in the country left 40 girls dead.

At least two people are dead and six are held as hostages in Guatemala after a riot broke out in a juvenile detention center in San Jose Pinula, according to authorities.

Guatemala Mourns Girls Lost in Horrific Fire

Two security guards were beaten to death and five more were hurt, according to police. Witnesses reported that the riot began at noon on Sunday when the scheduled visits were over.

The Stage II Detention Center is located close to the Virgen de la Asuncion shelter for abused teens, where on March 8 a fire resulted from a resident attempting to flee the facility, leaving 40 girls dead and sparking protests against President Jimmy Morales' administration and outrage over what has been dubbed state-sponsored femicide.

According to police, 47 teenagers were in the detention center and at least 26 — allegedly linked to the Barrio 18 gang, a faction of the Mara 18 — headed the revolt, authorities reported.

Police say the riot broke out to protest alleged mistreatment, demand better food and request the transfer of the rest of a group of detained teens who are still in a juvenile center in Guatemala City.

Guatemala President Admits State Responsibility in Shelter Fire

A judge confirmed authorities tried to negotiate with the teens on Sunday afternoon, but the dialogue failed. The teens demand the presence of the attorney general and human rights lawyers on the premises.

"Judges report that the negotiation was not achieved and the National Civil Police will take control of the situation," Guatemala's judicial branch stated on its Twitter account.

Riot police entered the center and threw tear gas at the teens, which led to many protesting inmates climbing onto the roofs of the center and attempting to flee.


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