RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) _ The 800 inmates of a southern Brazil prison rebelled against severe overcrowding Tuesday, taking 17 hostages and demanding the transfer of out-of-state inmates, police said.

Prisoners using wooden sticks overpowered guards from the roof at the Ahu Provisional Prison in Curitiba, 420 miles southwest of Rio, and set fire to the prison's main building, Parana state police Maj. Nemesio Xavier Franca said.

Later in the day, the inmates released seven hostages _ three professors, two pastors, a dentist and a security guard. Ten guards remained hostages.

Negotiations will resume Wednesday, Franca said.

Prison overcrowding is a common motive for rebellions in Brazil. The Ahu prison is designed to hold 300 inmates.