UC Davis postdoctoral researcher Sharon Gray, 31, was in Ethiopia for a meeting about her research when she was killed while traveling in a car in the outskirts Addis Ababa

(NBC News)―An American has been killed during a wave of demonstrations over land and political rights in Ethiopia.

University of California, Davis officials say that Sharon Gray, a postdoctoral researcher in its plant biology department, died when the vehicle she was riding in was struck by rocks thrown by protesters.

The university said in a statement that Gray was the East African country for a meeting about her research when she was killed Tuesday in the outskirts of the capital, Addis Ababa.

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Another member of UC Davis’ plant biology department who was traveling with Gray was not injured and is headed home.

Residents told Reuters that crowds have attacked other vehicles since a stampede at a weekend protest killed at least 55 people.

The weekend crush took place when police fired teargas and shots in the air to disperse anti-government demonstrations during a festival in the Oromiya region, south of the capital.

Oromiya has been a focus for demonstrations by locals who say land has been seized to build factories and housing blocks.

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