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Supporters of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and who oppose the Costal Gaslink pipeline take part in a rally in Smithers B.C., on Friday January 10, 2020. The Wet'suwet'en peoples are occupying their land and trying to prevent a pipeline from going through it. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

A spokesman for the Wet'suwet'en hereditary clan chiefs says they have delivered “directives” to the RCMP, and provincial and federal politicians over the treatment of those opposed to a gas pipeline.

Speaking after a rally in Smithers, B.C., Na'moks says he and other chiefs have met with RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan, as well as local New Democrat MP Taylor Bachrach and provincial Forests Minister Doug Donaldson.

Na'moks says the chiefs have asked Strachan to ensure that officers maintain the peace and do not take violent action against pipeline opponents, who have set up camps and felled trees along the road toward a construction site for the natural gas pipeline.

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nation councils along the planned 670-kilometre route from northeastern British Columbia to LNG Canada's export terminal in Kitimat on the coast, but hereditary chiefs say the project does not have their consent.

RCMP spokeswoman Dawn Roberts confirmed that a series of meetings is scheduled and ongoing.

But she says in an email that out of respect for those involved and the spirit of what they are trying to accomplish, she will not share what is discussed until all the meetings have taken place or decisions have been made.

She says the RCMP is committed to facilitating dialogue between those involved.

“We remain hopeful that these efforts will result in a resolution. This has been our focus and continues to be our focus,” she says.

The RCMP issued a statement Wednesday saying it has launched a criminal investigation into traps likely to cause bodily harm after patrolling the area where trees were felled across the road.

Officers found stacked tires with jugs of fuel inside, as well as bags of fuel-soaked rags. They also found trees along the side of the road that had been partially cut, which the RCMP say could be knocked down by wind.

Roberts says that investigation is progressing and remains active.

Na'moks says the trees were felled for the safety of supporters of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary clan chiefs.

Coastal GasLink responded to an interview request with an emailed statement.

“Coastal GasLink is approved, permitted and under construction today with more than 1,000 people working to build it, safely and responsibly,” Suzanne Wilton says in the statement.

She pointed to a news release that says clearing, grading, workforce accommodation, construction and other activities are planned for January between Chetwynd and Kitimat. The company has awarded $870 million in contracts since the final investment decision was made in October 2018, it says.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2020.