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NEW YORK (AP) _ The gawkers who have gathered each day at the ruins of the World Trade Center have been banned from taking photographs or video of the scene.

A statement from the mayor's office Tuesday said the ban was issued because the site is a crime scene. Officer Michael DiFrancisco, standing guard at a barricade, said the photo ban also was ``out of respect for the families and all those concerned.''

Mayoral spokeswoman Sunny Mindel said Wednesday that the ban does not affect news photographers.

``It doesn't affect anybody who is authorized. Obviously, a news organization, that's their job,'' she said. ``What we've got is people on the site taking pictures, selling them, using it as a tourist site.''

As of Wednesday morning, there were no reports of any arrests or seized equipment.

Signs were posted late Tuesday warning passersby that they risk prosecution if they take pictures or violate the ban on pedestrian or vehicular traffic or occupancy of buildings in the cordoned-off area.

More than 6,300 people are missing and feared dead in the rubble. Since the day after the Sept. 11 attack, no survivors have been pulled out.

Bill Homan, standing two blocks from the twisted metal and concrete, said he was going to take pictures anyway.

``That's a phenomenal picture,'' said Homan, 27, a Staten Island history teacher. ``In 20 years I could say, `Yes, I've seen that. I have pictures from that day.'''