GRANTS, N.M. (AP) — Authorities fired tear gas Monday night to break up a daylong protest by about 700 inmates at a private prison.

The prisoners were being handcuffed, checked for weapons and returned to their cells, State Police Capt. Glenn Thomas said early Tuesday. That was expected to take several hours.

"All day long, they were not complying with anything," Thomas said of the inmates at the Cibola County Correctional Center. "We finally had to do something."

Thomas said he was unaware of any injuries to inmates or law enforcement officers.

The inmates refused to leave the recreation yard about 8 a.m. to go to classes or work assignments, Steve Owen, director of marketing for Nashville, Tenn.-based Corrections Corporation of America, said in a statement.

Owen said prison employees were interviewing "cooperative inmates" to determine the reason for the protest at the prison, which the company owns and operates.

During the day, inmates who remained in cellblocks were confined to their cells as a precaution.

The prison, which has a contract from the federal Bureau of Prisons, has 818 inmates, 766 of whom are federal inmates, Owen said.