The chaos at Castellón II prison in Spain's Valencia province kicked off after one prisoner attacked his cell mate for not handing him tobacco.
When prison guards arrived on the scene to try and calm the irate man, he punched and kicked them, Spain's El Mundo newspaper reported on Thursday.
The inmate then "fled down the stairs into the dining area of the prison, took apart a rubbish container, and brandished the wheel axis as a weapon", according to a spokesperson for the prison guards union ACAIP.
The prisoner then tried to entice his breakfasting fellow prisoners to join him in his protest.
When guards attempted to remove the man, several inmates attacked them.
Meanwhile, a separate group of prisoners cornered another member of staff and demanded the release of the prisoner who had started the trouble.
ACAIP said these inmates had nothing to do with the first prisoner but that "all of them had the clear aim of being moved to another prison".
They said this was probably why the men had defended the instigator of the trouble.
The scuffle continued when the inmates involved to the solitary confinement wing, with prisoners attacking the guards.
One guard was even bitten, the spokesperson for the prison guards union said.
After the incident, ACAIP slammed conditions at the prison, saying prisoners "got away with" such behaviour and attacks on prison guards were more and more frequent.
The union said many of the prisoners at the Castellón II prison were difficult cases, adding that the facility filled up in summer and this caused the number of incidents to skyrocket.